Plastic cotton buds to be banned to prevent beach litter
The environment secretary blames people flushing the items down the toilet for the pollution.
Plastic-stemmed cotton buds will be banned in a bid to prevent litter on Scottish beaches.
The proposal, announced by the environment secretary on Thursday, would make Scotland the first part of the UK to prevent their sale and manufacture.
Announcing the ban, Roseanna Cunningham blamed people flushing cotton buds down their toilets for beach pollution.
She said: "Banning plastic cotton buds would be a clear sign of our ambition to address marine plastics and demonstrate further leadership on this issue.
"Despite various campaigns, people are continuing to flush litter down their toilets. This has to stop."
'People are continuing to flush litter down their toilets. This has to stop.'Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham
Most major retailers including Boots and Superdrug have already committed to switching to paper-stemmed buds.
Hundreds of plastic buds recently washed up on Gullane Beach in East Lothian, however, and they still make up about 10% of all marine litter.
The Scottish Government will hold a public consultation on the ban.
Dr Lyndsey Dodds, head of marine policy at WWF, said: "Cotton buds are some of the most pervasive forms of marine pollution so a ban is very welcome and a step in the right direction.
"We know plastic is suffocating our seas and devastating our wildlife with millions of birds, fish and mammals dying each year because of the plastic in our oceans."