Scientific Opinion on microplastics handed over to Commissioners

EU policy should be broadened to address airborne, freshwater and soil-based microplastic pollution, according to the Scientific Opinion of the European Commission’s Chief Scientific Advisors. The opinion also discusses how to ensure that measures are politically and socioeconomically feasible, and highlights the need for global cooperation and high-quality scientific exchange on microplastic pollution.

The Scientific Opinion “Environment and Health Risks of Microplastic Pollution”, informed by the SAPEA report on microplastics, was handed over to the European Commission on 30 April by professor Rolf Heuer, Chair of the Group of Chief Sceintific Advisors. Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas and Commissioner for Trade Cecelia Malmström received the Scientific Opinion on behalf of the College. The official ceremony took place in the Commission’s Berlaymont building in Brussels and was accompanied by the inauguration of an artwork exhibition by Filipa Bessa.

The report on microplastics supporting the Scientific Opinion was presented by SAPEA chair Professor Sierd Cloetingh and FEAM’s President Professor George Griffin. The accompanying “ZOOplastics” art exhibition was created by Filipa Bessa, researcher at Marine and Environmental Research Centre at the University of Coimbra and a Member of the SAPEA working group on Microplastics.

Published earlier this year, the SAPEA report “A scientific perspective on microplastics in nature and society” draws on a comprehensive examination of the best available evidence from the natural sciences and computer modelling, as well as social, political and behavioural sciences to inform the Scientific Opinion.


Lively discussion on microplastics in Slovenia

SAPEA’s microplastic report, along with issues related to recycling of plastics and future technologies, were discussed on 4 October 2019 in Ljubljana. The one-day event was organised by SAPEA, the Slovenian Academy of Engineering and the University of Ljubljana.  

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