Sturgeon – reusable sanitary products will tackle pollution in Scottish seas

20/02/2019 0 By wildfeed
By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 20 February 2019

A campaign to promote reusable sanitary products in Scotland has been announced by the First Minister as part of moves to protect the marine environment.

Tampon applicator - beach litter

Only the 3ps – pee, poo and paper – should be flushed down the loo, so any action that helps reduce single use plastics being used in the first place and then wrongly flushed is welcome

Catherine Gemmell,
MCS Scotland Conservation Officer

Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement yesterday at Scotland’s International Marine Conference in Glasgow. She said the Scottish Government would work with Zero Waste Scotland on the £175,200 campaign to help reduce the 100 billion pieces of sanitary waste disposed of around the world each year.

During the MCS Great British Beach Clean 2018, on the 277 beaches across Scotland that were cleaned and surveyed, volunteers found 861 tampon applicators (right) and 3179 panty liners.

The percentage of total litter that was sewage related debris – the stuff that’s flushed down the loo but shouldn’t be, was 12.6% on Scottish beaches compared to a UK average of 6.2%. And there was an average of 70.3 items of this bathroom related litter picked up along every 100m of surveyed beach in Scotland compared to the UK average of 37.1 items per 100m stretch.

Catherine Gemmell, MCS Scotland Conservation Officer, who was also speaking at the conference, said it’s fantastic that the First Minister is looking to take further steps to tackle single use plastic in our oceans: “Only the 3ps – pee, poo and paper – should be flushed down the loo, so any action that helps reduce single use plastics being used in the first place and then wrongly flushed is welcome. However, we need urgent action on wet wipes– over 27 were found per every 100m of Scottish beaches surveyed during last year’s Great British Beach Clean. Producers, retailers and the Government must take action to reduce this number.”

During her speech, Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland is demonstrating international leadership in protecting marine environments and will continue to maintain EU environmental standards despite Brexit: “Scotland continues to lead the way in protecting our marine environments and the size of Scotland’s marine protected area is testament to our commitment to protecting important habitats and species.

“This new campaign to promote reusable sanitary products expands our existing efforts to tackle the problem of single use plastic.

“Following the successful introduction of legislation to ban plastic microbeads in rinse-off personal care products, we are the first in the UK to commit to a ban on plastic stemmed cotton buds.”

She said that across the UK, more than four million sanitary products are flushed down the toilet every day and the campaign will have a “significant and important” impact.

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