The Gibraltar Government is set to introduce a ban on commercial importation of cosmetics and other products that contain plastic microbeads. Gibraltar will be one of the first jurisdictions in the world to take such significant action.
The news has drawn praise and support both here and abroad with the UN patron of the seas, Lewis Pugh, saying it is wonderful to see how Gibraltar is again leading the world on environmental issues.
“Microbeads are having a devastating impact on our oceans. Banning their import is both right and responsible,” he told the Chronicle.
Lewis Stagnetto from the Nautilus Project described it as an important first step in reducing the quantities of single use plastic, which contaminates the environment on a daily basis.
Managing Director of The Blue Planet Society in the UK, John Hourston, closely monitoring Gibraltar’s environmental actions, said this was fantastic news.
“These harmful microscopic plastics are known to be consumed by marine animals and are potentially disastrous for the environment,” he said.
Upon announcing its plans to introduce legislation regarding microbeads the Government said: “Other countries including the UK are in the process of banning microbeads, which will be replaced in many products by natural biodegradable alternatives.”
“Reducing the use of microbeads will have a direct effect locally as it will reduce the amount of these that find their way into the sea around us, and therefore will reduce the impact of plastics on our marine life,” it added.
Microbeads are the non-biodegradable components of many products and the Government’s announcement shortly “after the latest episode of the BBC’s acclaimed Blue Planet II, which highlighted the worrying impact of plastic on the marine environment.”
Recently businesses on the Rock took action against single use plastic bags, offering either long life or paper bags as an alternative.
Some catering establishments are also providing metal or paper straws to their customers in a bid to reduce its use of plastic.