Reducing plastic pollution in the oceans

Your insights and ideas for a Parliamentary debate


On Thursday 18 May 2023, Selaine Saxby MP led a Backbench Business debate on reducing plastic pollution in the oceans. To inform her debate, she asked to hear your ideas.

Many thanks to all those who filled in the survey.

Selaine Saxby MP thanked respondents for sharing their ideas for the debate:

"A big thanks to everyone who responded to the survey on reducing plastic pollution in the oceans – it was very helpful to have your contributions ahead of my debate. It is always heartening to see how much people care about restoring and protecting our environment. I addressed some of the concerns you raised during my debate on Thursday, including:
  • The impact of plastic pollution on marine wildlife 
  • How microplastics are affecting human health
  • The prevalence of marine-based sources of plastic pollution, such as fishing nets.
"I also spoke about several strategies to address the issue which many of you suggested to me, such as:
  • Deposit return schemes for plastic
  • Setting targets for the reuse of packaging
  • The valuable work of community initiatives, such as Plastic Free North Devon
  • The use of new technologies in clearing plastic pollution, such as the Ocean Clean Up 
  • Helping other island nations to limit plastic pollution. 
"You can watch the debate, read the transcript, and find information about the Government’s response on this page.
"Thank you again for taking the time to contribute on this important topic."
Selaine Saxby MP
Parliamentary portrait of Selaine Saxby MP

Read the debate transcript:

Link to transcript

Watch the debate:

Link to watch the debate

The Government's response

A minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Rebecca Pow MP, responded to the debate on behalf of the Government. She addressed the Government’s current policy agenda and future ambitions related to the debate topic. 

Watch or read her full speech for details on a range of topics including:   

How it works


What are Backbench Business debates?

Backbench Business debates give backbenchers (MPs of any party who are not ministers or shadow ministers) an opportunity to secure a debate on a topic of their choice, either in the House of Commons Chamber or in Westminster Hall.

 MPs can make a request for a debate to the Backbench Business Committee, who hears and decides which debates to schedule.

The debates can either be general debates (which do not end in a vote) or be on a substantive motion (which calls for an action and can end in a vote). This will be a general debate.

How your contributions are shared

In these exercises, members of the public who have signed relevant petitions or are subscribed to parliamentary newsletters are invited to share their experiences and ideas.

These are passed on to the MP leading the debate, who may refer to them directly in their speeches.

Find other petitions on the Petitions website

Sign up to the Your UK Parliament newsletter for latest info on free activities online and around the UK to help you get involved and make a difference. 

What happens next?

If you shared your email in the survey, we’ll send you an update after the debate with links to watch it, read the transcript, and information about the Government's response.

Lisa, Ian and Charlotte contributed to previous debates on topics like the menopause and pensions advice:

Parliamentary resources

House of Commons Library

Relevant research briefings:

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Plastic Waste inquiry:

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    Photo credit: UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor