Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

Prohibition of Micro-Plastics Bill 2016: Discussion (Resumed)

9:30 am

Photo of Mick BarryMick Barry (Cork North Central, Solidarity) | Oireachtas source

The idea that there is a potential impact on human health is obviously of real concern and I imagine the situation here is cumulative. There is a large quantity of microplastics intersecting with marine life. It is growing. Is there a tipping point? Maybe that is a point that could be addressed. Is it just a case of quantitative changes or does it turn into something more serious at a certain point? I take on board the point that has been raised by Dr. Lynch that there is a very significant presence on our coastlines in Ireland. I welcome the Bill and that the Government is no longer opposing it. I thought the initial reaction from the Minister, Deputy Coveney, was depressing and deferred to business interests, the cosmetic industry and the European Union. It is clear that change on this issue is unstoppable. The debate has started, many people are engaging in it and there is a mood for change. Some European governments have introduced legislation and the US will have a ban within two years. Is that correct? I think the UK is doing something similar and maybe the witnesses could clarify that. It is important that Ireland does not lag behind on this. It is clear that the Minister, Deputy Coveney, did not want Ireland to be a pioneer on it but change is under way now and it is important that Ireland does not lag behind.


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