Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described recent findings announced by NUI Galway scientists, who discovered that the majority of North Atlantic fish studied had ingested plastics, as alarming and has called for an outright ban on the use of plastic micro beads. This would involve a manufacturing ban and would mean that the tiny plastic beads which harm marine life could no longer be used in cosmetics and personal care products.
The Sinn Féin TD said that plastic fibre pollution is out of control and the lack of interest or action from the Irish Government is almost criminal in its disregard.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“The analysis carried out by scientists from NUI Galway which confirmed that some 73% of the sample fish from the North Atlantic contained evidence of plastics contamination is alarming and should act as a spur to legislators. The plastic fibres in these fish are in turn being digested by all of us and are likely to cause all sorts of health implications for Irish consumers.
“Of the 260 million tons of plastic that the world produces every year, about 10% ends up in the Ocean and if we keep doing this there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050.“There seems to be little urgency, an almost criminal disregard coming from this Government, to seriously address this crisis in any meaningful way. Thousands of tonnes of plastic microbeads from products such as exfoliating face scrubs and toothpastes wash into the sea every year, where they harm marine life, and can ultimately be eaten by people.“We need to follow other jurisdictions and introduce an outright ban on the manufacture and use of micro bead plastics that are engulfing our planet. It is estimated that there are five trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s seas and that the debris has reached the most remotest parts of the oceans.“These microbeads are a small but significant part of this and campaigners argue they are the easiest plastic to prevent.“Sinn Féin and others have introduced bills on reducing plastics, such as calling for a deposit return scheme for plastic drinks containers. There have been opposition Bills in relation to a ban on micro bead plastics but the government have stalled and delayed their passage.“We have clearly reached a milestone and this recent analysis carried out by the NUI scientists backs this up.
“Plastic production is expected to double in the next 20 years but the pollution of our environment is coming to a critical point. China, which takes 95% of this State’s plastic waste, will be banning imported plastics. There needs to be policies put in place to address how we are dealing with our plastics waste and waste in general. To change our environment will need a change in mindset and a change in government policy immediately.”