Many of my constituents have taken the time to write to me recently to ask me to call for action from the Prime Minister to protect our oceans, and that’s exactly what I did recently in a debate in the House of Commons.
I agree that strong action and a combined global effort is required in order to protect our marine environment. Here in Scotland, the Scottish Government manages our waters with the guiding principle that our natural environment, its wildlife and the diversity of the industries which depend on it, must be safeguarded for future generations.
Scotland's vision is for clean, healthy, safe, productive and diverse seas that are managed to meet the long term needs of nature and people. This is only achievable through strong national action and international cooperation.
Under the SNP, Scotland is helping to lead the way in action on plastics and on deposit return. The SNP have banned personal hygiene products containing plastic microbeads and plastic stemmed cotton buds. Scotland also leads the way on deposit return and was the first part of the UK to commit to a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.
Last year saw Scotland's International Marine Conference take place. The conference, which was hosted by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Roseanna Cunningham, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, discussed improving our marine environment and protecting our wildlife, with a strong focus on tackling marine plastics.
In Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), in conjunction with the Scottish Government implements the EU Water Framework Directive aimed at ensuring the protection, improvement and sustainable use of rivers, lochs, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater.
As the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, please rest assured that I and my SNP colleagues will continue to press the UK Government to ensure there is no backsliding on these vital environmental protections. It is essential that a senior British Government Minister attends the talks and pushes for a bold Global Ocean Treaty.
Beach image by Petia Koleva