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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-13343: Richard Lochhead (Moray)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 12 December 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the resolution to eliminate plastic pollution in seas, which was passed by the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 12 January 2018

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of tackling marine plastics and welcomes the UN’s Resolution and the international attention it brings to the serious problem of plastic pollution in our seas. We published our Marine Litter Strategy in 2014 with over 40 action points to reduce marine litter, and have also prioritised tackling marine plastics in our Programme for Government with four further commitments;

  • We will establish a deposit return scheme to increase recycling rates and reduce littering

  • We will establish an expert panel to consider environmental charges for disposable items, such as coffee cups.

  • We have committed £500,000 to begin to address litter sinks around the coast and to develop policy to address marine plastics, which will involve working with community groups.

  • We will host an international conference in 2019 to discuss improving our marine environment and protecting our wildlife, focusing on marine plastics. This collaboration will take forward the ambitions of the UN environment assembly’s resolution.

We are introducing a ban on the manufacture and sale of rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads with the rest of the UK which is expected to be in place in the summer of 2018. In December we also pledged our support of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to ensure that the issue of loss or abandoned fishing gear, often made of plastics, is addressed around the world.

There are many Scottish Government policy areas working collaboratively with external stakeholders and other Administrations to ensure the success of current and new actions to deliver cleaner and healthier seas.