Seas and Oceans: Plastics

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 23rd May 2016.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of microplastics entering the sea on protected species in UK waters.

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

Defra has funded a project, undertaken by the University of Plymouth, to study the effects of microplastics in the marine environment. The study did not specifically cover protected species. The project studied whether chemical pollutants stick to plastic particles, whether marine organisms ingest plastic particles and pass them along the food chain, and whether the plastics themselves, or associated chemical pollutants, could cause harm to those organisms. The final report for this project is expected to be published shortly.

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