MSPs move to ban ‘deadly’ plastic microbeads

File photo dated 03/06/16 of an exfoliating daily wash containing micro-beads. A UK-wide ban on the manufacture of cosmetics and care products containing tiny pieces of plastic known as "microbeads" has come into force.
File photo dated 03/06/16 of an exfoliating daily wash containing micro-beads. A UK-wide ban on the manufacture of cosmetics and care products containing tiny pieces of plastic known as "microbeads" has come into force.
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New laws which could ban plastic microbeads in personal care products are to be examined in Holyrood.

The environment, climate change and land reform committee is set to look at legislation that would stop their use in such items across Scotland.

The materials – found in face scrubs, toothpastes and shower gels – can pass through sewage systems and reach seas and oceans.

They are not biodegradable and can accumulate over many years, causing serious harm to marine life.

Graeme Dey MSP, the committee convener, said: “It is a jaw dropping fact that one shower can send up to 100,000 plastic beads – for which there are natural alternatives – down the plughole.”

Meanwhile, the social security committee is to examine the benefits available to those who are employed, but are still struggling on low incomes,

MSPs want to understand if enough is being done to help people get out of poverty.

Clare Adamson MSP, the convener, said: “People in work should reasonably expect to earn enough to make ends meet.

“It is, however, a sad fact that there are people in Scotland who are working hard and still not earning enough.

“Our social security system should support people and has a role to play in addressing poverty and we want to understand what is happening in our communities.”

The committee will examine what impact the rollout of Universal Credit is having on in-work poverty.

It will also look at the reasons for increasing demand for support from food banks.

Meanwhile, the finance and constitution committee has begun the next phase of its constitutional scrutiny with a call for evidence on common UK frameworks.

It signals the start of preparatory work ahead of new legal and policy frameworks being established post-Brexit.

Convener Bruce Crawford MSP said: “What’s also incredibly important is that the very process of developing common frameworks is likely to give us an early indication of the effectiveness of relationships between the UK government and devolved institutions.

“Our committee is already commissioning international comparative research on how frameworks operate in Europe, Canada and Australia.

“We’ll also want to hear from academics and from policy experts.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of effective parliamentary scrutiny in this next phase of our work.”