Green Party call for urgent action on microplastics following EPA report

9 Meitheamh 2017



EPA reports shows potential risks to human health from microplastic pollution

The Green Party said today that the Government must prioritise a ban on microbeads, and must be ambitious about taking steps to cut down on the amount of microplastics entering marine ecosystems.

The call comes following the publication of an EPA report that shows a number of potential impacts for the environment, wildlife, and humans.

A bill introduced in the Seanad by Green Party Senator Grace O'Sullivan, designed to ban microbeads and monitor microplastics was defeated by the Government and Fianna Fáil earlier this year.

The potential human impacts included:

  • Exposure to microplastics if present in drinking water or via consumption of food prepared using water containing microplastics;
  • Consumption of freshwater fish, such as salmon or trout, which have been exposed to or have ingested microplastics;
  • Accidental ingestion of water containing microplastics through bathing.

The study also identified 24 different species of molluscs, fish, birds, mammals and crustaceans, as being potentially at risk from microplastic pollution in Ireland, many of which are classified as endangered or vulnerable.

Green Party Senator Grace O'Sullivan said “This very timely report has shown our fears about the level of plastic pollution in our seas are well founded. Today is World Oceans Day, and we're yet again seeing the massive damage we are doing to these crucial habitats. I will continue the fight with my Green Party colleagues to ensure the government takes strong action to tackle plastic waste, and to support a truly 'circular economy' at the European and global level. We need to protect human health, as well as the health of our seas and oceans, which Ireland in particular relies on for so much.”