Local MSP Maree Todd SNP recently visited the Heriot- Watt campus in Stromness and was impressed by research that looked at the prevalence of micro-plastics in the Firth of Forth and Scapa Flow.
Sediment samples from the beaches around Scapa Flow have a similar level of micro-plastics to the industrialised, highly populated Clyde and Firth of Forth, research from Heriot-Watt University shows.
The Scottish Government led a debate on action to tackle the impact of single-use plastics on land and in our seas on Wednesday 7th February 2018.
Maree Todd said:
“It’s great to hear of the high quality research on the issue of marine plastics being done right here in Stromness.
“I am always keen to highlight pioneering research taking place in the Highlands & Islands.
“Earlier this year NorthLink announced their intention to replace plastic straws on its ferries with papers ones, and Ullapool is believed to be the first village in the UK to go plastic straw free – thanks to a campaign by school kids in Ullapool and Glasgow Sunnyside Primary school.
“It’s also great to see my colleague Kate Forbes MSP’s Final Straw campaign gaining momentum.
“The impact of marine litter is a huge concern in coastal and Island communities, so it’s no wonder the Highlands & Islands are leading the way on stemming the plastic tide!”
A range of Scottish Government policies have been announced in recent months to reduce plastic in our seas, including a deposit-return scheme for drinks containers, an £18 million Circular Economy Investment Fund, a ban on plastic-stemmed cotton buds in Scotland, and legislation will be introduced to ban the manufacture and sale of personal care products containing plastic microbeads.
There are some powers, such as product standards and taxation, which the Scottish Government do not currently have the power to change because there is a devolved and reserved split.
Maree Todd MSP said:
“It is clear that plastic is having a devastating impact on our oceans and I am proud to see that Scotland is making positive steps to protect our environment.
“Marine litter knows no international boundary so it is imperative that the UK Government should sign up to the same ambition and vision as being displayed by Scotland and the EU so that we are all able to move forward as fast as possible on tackling plastics and protecting the environment.”