South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne has co-sponsored a Bill in Parliament aimed at tackling the issue of microplastic pollution from clothing.
Microplastic fibres are shed from clothing when worn and laundered. Research from the University of Plymouth has found that a single 6kg washing load can release up to 700,000 microfibres into wastewater systems.
Due to their size, they are too small to be caught by standard washing machine filtration systems and can end up in wastewater systems and our waterways where they have been shown to be ingested by fish and entered human food chains.
The Microplastic Filters (Washing Machines) Bill would require manufacturers to fit microplastic-catching filters to new domestic and commercial washing machines and would encourage consumers to use the filters in both domestic and commercial settings.
The Bill would also raise public awareness of the environmental consequences of microplastic release into rivers and seas.
Philip Dunne, who chairs the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee, has long been a vociferous campaigner in Parliament for tackling pollution in our waterways. He said:
“Our award-winning committee Report on Water Quality in Rivers made clear recommendations to the Government to commission a survey of emerging pollutants and microplastic pollution found in our rivers. Much is not yet known regarding the potential harm of microplastics entering our human food chain, but it is clear that they are damaging to our natural environment and should be tackled using the technology already available.
“I am pleased to have supported my colleague Alberto Costa MP in bringing this Bill to the House of Commons and I will continue to support it as it progresses through Parliament.”