Tackling marine microplastic pollution
Microplastic pollution is a global issue with severe impacts. Evidence confirms physical and toxicological effects on marine life. Many toxins pass down the food chain raising concerns for our health. FFI is engaging with UK stakeholders to prevent microplastics from entering the marine environment
Charity information: Fauna & Flora International (FFI)
Plastic pollution is the world's oceans is ubiquitous. Globally, 280m tonnes of plastic are produced annually, in a trillion dollar industry employing 180,000 people in the UK alone. Virtually every aspect of our lives is now reliant upon plastic - from the food we eat to the water we drink. It is estimated that 100,000 tonnes of plastic debris now pollutes our oceans. Worryingly, sources of microplastic entering the environment appear to be on the rise, thanks in part to their use in cosmetics
FFI aims to prevent direct sources of microplastics from entering the marine environment. To achieve these aims, FFI is developing strategies to help businesses to minimise their plastic pollution footprint and raise public awareness with two novel initiatives: the Good Scrub Guide and promoting the uptake of Operation Clean Sweep. FFI remains the only UK based biodiversity conservation organisation addressing this threat to our oceans.
A reduction in the number of direct sources of microplastic pollution to the UK marine environment
Activities» Effective corporate engagement to discuss changes in policy and practice in light of sustainability issues of microbead and pellet handling
What success will look like
Number of pledges secured from UK retailers confirming intent to phase out plastic microbead use in face scrubs, domestic cleaning products and wider cosmetics
A positive change in corporate policy and practice with regard to microplastic use and handling
Activities» Regular meetings and correspondence with key stakeholders to champion positive case studies and keep industry representatives abreast of changes
What success will look like
Corporate shift in policy and practice to ban the use of microbeads in all new products coming online with an emphasis on securing biodegradable alternatives
Increased awareness within industry and the general public about the threat this pollution poses
Activities» Forming partnerships with like-minded, public facing organisations in the UK to increase public awareness of the impact of microplastic pollution.
What success will look like
Increase in the number of times the Beat the Micro Bead app is downloaded as a result of increased awareness
1. Forward thinking retailers actively purchase plastic-free products or products from manufacturers that have pledged a change in corporate policy as outlines in the Good Scrub Guide.
2. An increase in the number of plastic-free products available on the UK market, as featured on the Good Scrub Guide, or a reduction in the number of products that contain plastic microbeads
3. A positive shift in UK retailers CSR policies to include phasing out/banning plastic microbeads
Lack of interest for change in policy from manufacturers and retailers of personal care products.
Industry representatives view the Good Scrub Guide negatively given that no legislation exists to prohibit the use of plastic microbeads in personal care and domestic cleaning products.
Industry reacts adversely to increase in public awareness about extent of microbead use.
We have excellent social media coverage with over 156,200 Facebook followers, 26,600 Twitter followers, 586,800 views on YouTube as well as accounts on Instagram and Google+.
We will also publish updates through our website and e-news list, as well as our annual magazine and quarterly newsletter.
Budget - Project Cost: £146,060Loading graph....
Amount Heading Description £71,060 Marine Plastic Project Officer To co-ordinate and deliver the stakeholder engagement, and to co-ordinate and work with partners £45,000 Management support & oversight This includes support from communications and fundraising, as well as project management support £30,000 Overheads This includes office costs and finance support
Plastic pollution in the world's oceans is ubiquitous. Globally, 280 million tonnes of plastic are produced annually, in a trillion dollar industry that employs 180,000 people in the UK alone. Virtually every aspect of our lives in the UK are now reliant on plastic - from the food we eat and the water we drink to the transport we use and the life-saving medicine that we rely on. Consequently, it is estimated that 100,000 tonnes of plastic debris now pollutes our oceans and waterways.
Microplastic pollution is a global problem with severe impacts on marine biodiversity. Compelling evidence confirms both physical and toxicological effects on marine plants and animals. Many of the known toxins associated with microplastic pollution are passed along the food chain and as a result, scientists and policymakers alike are now questioning the implications for human health impacts.
FFI saw the need for timely intervention in the UK and in 2012 appointed a dedicated Officer to develop an effective and targeted marine plastics programme. Drawing on core strengths, such as a strong operational reputation with corporates and strong working relationships with other international NGOs working on similar issues. FFI remains the only UK based biodiversity conservation organisation actively addressing this threat to our oceans.
Read more about the Charity running this project.
Marine Plastics Project Manager, with a background in UK fisheries management & marine protected area environmental assessment.