The Green Party has called for a ban on a new type of plastic technology used in cosmetics which could poison marine life and damage eco-systems.
Microbeads are tiny plastic particles which are added to scrubs and cosmetics to help improve their effectiveness. Hardly visible to the eye, when washed off these beads pass unhindered through water treatment centres and eventually into the world’s oceans. They then become absorbed by fish and other sea creatures and can end up being eaten by humans.
As many as 94,000 such microbeads can be released into the water system in a single use, according to recent scientific research.
Although there are plans to phase these plastics out by the 2020s, the Green Party is calling for faster UK action to fall in line with the USA, who plan to ban from 2017.
In the meantime, the North Sea Foundation has introduced a phone app, to allow people to scan their cosmetic and scrubbing products to see if they are already free from these new plastics.