SAR member the North Sea Foundation has been busy of late, gaining big wins in the Dutch parliament on microplastics and has put harbour porpoises under the spotlight in a major awareness raising campaign for the threatened species.

In an official statement of the Dutch Lower Chamber of Parliament last month, the government was called on to work at the European level towards an agreement to reduce the effects of microplastics in products and to “engage in talks to see how the use of microplastics could be reduced”.

The Dutch government has now accepted the advice of the Lower Chamber of Parliament and is now obliged to bring the issue to the EU’s attention.

The North Sea Foundation and the Plastic Soup Foundation have been spearheading a campaign in the Netherlands to have microplastics removed from cosmetics products because of the inability of water treatment facilities to remove them from waste water.

Being that microplastics cannot effectively be removed from waste water, the threat is that they are ending up in our rivers and seas and adding to the growing amounts of marine litter items clogging up our oceans.

Seas At Risk has also been working with the North Sea Foundation to find a solution at the EU level and will continue doing so in 2013!

PORPOISE FACE FRESH PROBLEMS

At a recent conference organised by the North Sea Foundation, the plight of harbor porpoises was highlighted with bycatch from fishing and pile driving for windfarms noted as key threats to the species.

Harbour porpoises have had a jagged relationship in the North Sea, having been abundant in the area before 1950 before becoming locally extinct by 1960.

Since then, the species has been able to repopulate but now their fragile existence has been threatened with new anthropogenic pressures.

The most damming effect on harbor porpoise numbers has been because of fishing practices with bycatch numbers thought to be extremely high. Reports of dead porpoises found washed up on beaches are not uncommon and the North Sea Foundation are calling on EU countries to improve monitoring of the species so as to better understand harbor porpoise ecology.

For more information on microplastics


For more information on Harbour porpoises (Dutch only)

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