Like many of you I was able to spend a lot of time on our beaches or in the sea over the summer months. Apart from being an integral part of Cornwall, our seas and beaches are important assets for our tourism and fishing industries and their protection must be a priority.
As I headed back up to Parliament this week, I was particularly pleased to hear that the Government has announced plans to ban microbeads used in cosmetics and cleaning products from 2017.
Microbeads are small pieces of plastic commonly found in toothpaste, exfoliating body scrubs and other household products. They damage the environment and are building up in oceans with the potential to enter the food chain, with small particles of plastic now regularly found to have been ingested by fish.
Most people don’t realise every time we shower, brush our teeth or use cosmetics we are putting hundreds of thousands of tiny plastic particles down the plug. They are invisible to the eye and too small to be filtered out and therefore end up in the sea.
I am chair of the Protect Our Waves All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), and work with Cornwall-based charity Surfers Against Sewage to address urgent environmental issues including that of marine litter.
A major part of marine litter is the amount of plastic that ends up in our seas. The Protect Our Waves APPG has made highlighting and campaigning for the importance of reducing the plastic in our seas a priority.
As a start, the 5p charge for plastic bags brought in under this government has reduced the number of new plastic bags in circulation by 85% which has meant 6.5billion fewer going into landfill or into our oceans.
This ban on microbeads is an important next step, one that the Protect Our Waves APPG has been calling for and one that I wholeheartedly welcome. As ever, the devil will be in the detail and I look forward to seeing how the Government implements the ban, which will be another positive move in the fight against marine pollution.
As always, my team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please contact me on either 01726 829379 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events