South Leicestershire MP, Alberto Costa, is to Chair a new cross-party group in Parliament to lead efforts in reducing the harmful effects of microplastics.
Alberto is working with the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (WI) to create the new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Microplastics – the group will aim to promote awareness of microfibre plastics and their harmful effects on the environment to consumers. The group, which will be made of MPs and Peers from all parties, will work to ensure collaboration across various sectors in order to reduce the effects of microfibres on the environment.
Microfibres are a major source of microplastic pollution. These are particles smaller than 5mm that are shed from synthetic clothing when worn and laundered. They are classed as the third largest primary source of microplastic pollution after vehicle tyre dust and plastic pellet spills.
Due to their size, they are too small to be caught by current washing machine filters and end up in the sewage system where they are either caught or remain in sewage sludge or are released into the marine environment, damaging marine species and entering into the human food chain.
The Women's Institute, who are the APPG's Secretariat, have worked on various climate change and fast fashion campaigns. They have been pushing for the development of solutions to the microplastic problem from clothes and launched their ‘End Plastic Soup’ campaign on this topic in 2017.
Alberto said, “I am delighted to be chairing this new cross-party APPG on Microplastics – both these and Microfibres are a huge problem that have deeply damaging effects on the marine environment. Once the damage has been done to our oceans and environment there is no going back, hence why in order to make real and lasting change on this issue, we as Parliamentarians needs to put aside our differences, come together to work collaboratively on this”.
Alberto added, “I very much look forward to the group beginning our work on this, alongside the brilliant WI. The group will aim to work with various sectors of industry to explore possible interventions to stop these microplastics at their source and to stop them escaping into our oceans. New washing machine filters are one way of catching microfibres to stop them being released into our water way; France is currently leading the way on legislation in this area and this may be an option to help reduce the harmful effects of microfibres. Businesses and consumers also have a responsibility and more awareness needs to be raised in this area, so I do look forward to taking this matter in Parliament in the hope that real change can be achieved soon”.
Attached picture shows Alberto Costa MP with Ann Jones, NFWI Vice-Chair and Chair of Public Affairs Committee