Environmental Audit Committee Microplastics Report

EACThe Environmental Impacts of Microplastics - Report by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee

The Westminster committee has spent much of this year hearing from experts from academia, NGOs, government and retailers about the effects of microplastics in the environment. The focus was mostly on the subject of microbeads in cosmetics, although other sources of microplastic, including nurdles, were also discussed during the consulation.


Conclusions and recommendations from the report include:

  • The Committee recommends a legislative ban on microbeads in cosmetics, firstly at international level, or if that is not possible, at national level. "The legislation should follow the principles set out by Fauna & Flora International around universality and consistency."
  • Microbeads make up only a small proportion of microplastic pollution. The wider issue of microplastic pollution cannot be set aside once microbeads have been dealt with.
  • There is significant evidence for health impacts of microplastics on the marine envrionment, although little evidence on potential human health impacts. 
  • Microplastic pollution should be treated as an economic, as well as environmental issue, due to potential impacts on e.g. food and farming. 
  • Microplastic pollution should be addressed as a transnational problem - recommendations that the Government continue to cooperate with international partners. Currently, NGOs are taking the lead in addressing this issue, which is unsustainable, and it is recommended that the government takes more of a lead as more evidence emerges. 

You can read the full report here, and an interactive summary is available here (many nurdle pictures feature!) 

Several news articles cover the release: Read stories here from BBC News, The Guardian, Financial Times and The Independent

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