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Parliamentary question - E-004237/2016(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission

The Commission recognises the threat that marine litter in general and microplastics in particular represent for the marine environment, marine animals and potentially for human health.

The occurrence and persistence of plastic debris and microplastics in the marine environment and waterways is an issue of increasing public debate, at both European and international levels. As such, the Commission is following international developments, including the bill recently passed in the United States related to the ban of microbeads in cosmetics.

The Commission welcomes voluntary commitments by the cosmetics industry with regard to the reduction of microplastics. With regard to its own action the Commission is currently examining — on the basis of a recently published study made available[1] early in 2016 — if and what actions are necessary to reduce microplastics from various sources in the aquatic (freshwater and marine) environment.