Government have today proudly announced that it will introduce legislation against the commercial importation of cosmetics and other products that contain plastic microbeads, making Gibraltar one of the first jurisdictions in the world to take such significant action.

Microbeads are the non-biodegradable components of many products. They have been found to persist in the ocean and find their way into the food chain through marine organisms, with as yet unknown effects on human health. Other countries including the UK are in the process of banning microbeads, which will be replaced in many products by natural biodegradable alternatives.

This initiative follows recent local actions aimed at reducing the use of single use plastics bags, as a result of which an increasing number of businesses are voluntarily moving towards paper, textile and other natural alternatives.

Reducing the use of microbeads will have a direct effect locally as it will reduce the amount of these that find their way into the sea around us, and therefore will reduce the impact of plastics on our marine life.

Coincidentally the new regulations were announced in the Gazette less than 24 hours of after the latest episode of the BBC’s acclaimed Blue Planet II, which highlighted the worrying impact of plastic on the marine environment.