Between 75,000 and 300,000 tonnes of microplastics are released into the environment each year in the EU.
A proportion of these microplastics are escaping into our environment after having been intentionally produced, supplied and used in products like cosmetics, detergents, paints, pesticides and even sports fields.
These tiny synthetic polymers are harmful to biodiversity as they resist biodegradation – breaking down in nature – and block the digestive tracts of aquatic creatures, turtles and birds. Many scientists believe them to be harmful to human health.
An EU-wide action putting an end to this rising pollution is needed now.
In line with the EU Plastics Strategy (2018), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) was asked to make a proposal for restricting the use of intentionally-added microplastics under the Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH). This proposal is soon to be given to the European Commission and Member States which is why we need them to fix the proposal before implementing it. This legislation will need to stand up to strong industry pressure and lobbying which will attempt to delay and weaken its effectiveness.
This is not a quick fix, however, and our extensive position paper outlines our recommendations:
Relevant News Stories:
- Microplastics are tiny but they post a huge problem
- 500 times more microplastics in our ocean than stars in our galaxy
- Less than a month left to say no to microplastics in our products in Europe
- EU microplastics ban: How industry pressure led European Chemicals Agency to dilute its proposals
- EU set to make microplastic problem worse
- Here’s why the EU can’t miss the chance to ban all microplastics
The following organisations support the position taken in this paper: