Seas and Oceans: Plastics

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 16 March 2016.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the adequacy of filtration systems to remove microplastics prior to entry into the sea.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

A recent Defra-funded project, undertaken by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), investigated the presence and quantity of microplastic particles entering the marine environment after sewage treatment. The report concluded microplastics are released into surface waters through sewage treatment directly, or via sewage sludge from agricultural composting. It also concluded that more work is needed to determine the effectiveness of different types of sewage treatment at removing microplastics from sewage. The final report is currently undergoing peer review.

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