South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa has ramped up his eco-campaign to combat microplastics in wastewater on a visit to Lutterworth Sewage Treatment Works.
Mr Costa, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on microplastics, spoke to senior Severn Trent Water officials about filtering processes at treatment plants.
The get-together came as the Conservative MP strives to highlight the seriously-damaging effects of microfibre plastics on the environment.
“As chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Microplastics, I was very interested to learn of the work Severn Trent does at the Lutterworth Treatment site.
“Microplastics can easily escape treatment works so I was very grateful to Severn Trent for showing me their screening process,” said Mr Costa.
“I will continue to raise awareness of the effects of microplastic pollution on our environment in Parliament and to campaign for microplastic fibre catching filters to be added to all new domestic and commercial washing machines.”
Microfibre plastic is often shed from clothing during a laundry cycle and ends up in rivers and seas by escaping from wastewater treatment works.
Mr Costa has been fighting for all new domestic and commercial washing machines to be fitted with special microfibre-catching filters.
Research led by Plymouth University has found that one 6kg (13lbs) wash alone can release up to 700,000 microfibres.
As well as microplastics, Mr Costa also discussed the issue of sewage sludge.
That’s the solid mass produced from treating sewage - and it contains organic matter.
Sludge can be used as fertiliser or soil improver and as a result is often spread across farmland.
But it often contains chemicals and microplastics.
Peter Vale, of Severn Trent’s innovation team, showed Mr Costa the work the water and waste company is doing around microplastics - and how staff re-use waste removed from the treatment process.
Peter said: “We talked about the importance of source control of microplastics - and our support for the proposed Bill on preventing those microplastics coming from the washing of clothes entering the sewage network.
“We talked about the valuable energy, material and water in sewage and how we have a number of innovation projects looking at recovery of these materials.”