Microplastics ban: Citizens' initiative heads to Finnish lawmakers

The last of the 50,000 signatures required were collected on Sunday, according to organisers of the initiative.

File photo of water polluted by microplastic particles. Image: Robert Taylor / AOP

A citizens' initiative proposing that Finland ban the importation, production and sale of cosmetics containing microplastics has received the 50,000 signatures it needs to be considered by lawmakers.

The problem of plastic waste in the environment has become a hot topic around the world in recent times. For example, the international wilderness preservation group WWF has warned that there could be more plastic than fish (siirryt toiseen palveluun)in the world's oceans and seas by the year 2050.

The organisers of the Finnish microplastics ban initiative say that microplastics should be banned because they harm sea life and aquatic ecosystems. The group also says that microplastics end up in food and water systems.

Two women behind initiative

Lotta Laaksonen and Marion Routti, who both live on the island municipality of Pargas (Parainen in Finnish) near Turku in southwest Finland, were behind the initiative.

"It’s fantastic! Just two days ago we still needed 10,000 signatures, but now we’re there," Laaksonen said, adding that she collected some 200 signatures herself on Saturday in Turku.

The citizens' initiative also received a lot of attention on social media over the weekend, she said.

Laaksonen says she hopes that Finland will ban cosmetics containing microplastics and that the citizens’ initiative sparks a national discussion about plastics in the environment. She pointed out that countries like Sweden and the UK have already banned some cosmetics containing microplastics.

"There’s been very gloomy news about the environment lately. This is a small step, but I hope people have woken up and noticed that everyone can make a difference, just like us two women who started this citizens' initiative," Laaksonen said.