Today, the European Commission launched a public consultation on how best to reduce the amount of unintentionally released microplastics into the environment. This public consultation will support the European Commission’s initiative on Microplastics pollution – measures to reduce impacts on the environment, a key deliverable of the Circular Economy Action Plan and the Zero Pollution Action Plan.
The consultation focusses on sources which are known to release the largest quantity of microplastics are plastic pellets, synthetic textiles and tyres. Additional sources such as paints, geotextiles, and detergent capsules for laundry and dishwashers are also being evaluated.
Microplastics (plastic particles with a diameter of less than 5 mm) are ubiquitous and can be found in soil, air, water and living organisms. They accumulate throughout the food chain, absorb and transport other organic and inorganic (often toxic) pollutants and are easily ingested or inhaled by organisms due to their tiny size. They can further degrade to nanoplastics (less than 100 nm).
Scientific evidence shows that microplastics have negative effects on vulnerable eco-systems (e.g. coral reefs, deep seas, polar regions), biodiversity (all marine life from plankton to large marine mammals) and human health. Moreover, the economic impact on terrestrial and marine ecosystems due to the release of plastics into the environment is vast.
The consultation follows the publication of a roadmap that outlines the objective of this initiative.
The published consultation is open until 17 May.
Contribute to the public consultation
Microplastics pollution – measures to reduce impacts on the environment
- Publication date
- 22 February 2022
- Directorate-General for Environment