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MEP Grace O’Sullivan’s to Travel to Galicia in Wake of Disastrous Plastic Spill

Declared an ‘environmental emergency’ by Spanish authorities, tonnes of microplastic pellets continue to wash up along the coast of northern Spain.

MEP Grace O’Sullivan will this weekend travel to Galicia alongside Greens/EFA colleague MEP Ana Miranda in the wake of the plastic spill in the Atlantic late last year. 

Millions of plastic pellets, known as ‘nurdles,’ which are used for plastic manufacturing, have begun to wash up along the shores of Galicia following a spillage on December 8th from the Liberian-flagged vessel ‘Toconao’. Sightings of the microplastics along the Galician coastline were first reported on December 13th, with the situation consistently escalating over recent weeks. Hundreds of volunteers are spending time on the beaches sifting through the sand in an attempt to remove as many of the millions of microplastics as possible. 

MEPs O’Sullivan and Miranda share a great concern for both the environmental and health impacts of this ‘plastic spill,’ and also for the lack of effective measures in place to address maritime pollution. 

 “Our addiction to plastic has led to this tragic plastic spill off the coast of Galicia, while microplastics are increasingly found in every marine habitat. This is devastating to vulnerable ecosystems but also to human health as it makes its way up the food chain.” 

MEP O’Sullivan is also a member of the Parliament’s Fisheries Committee and will meet with officials from the European Fisheries Control Authority (EFCA) which is based in Vigo, Galicia. 


MEP Grace O’Sullivan has worked in the area of environmental protection for over 40 years. The Micro-Plastic and Micro-Bead Pollution Prevention Bill 2016 was proposed by O’Sullivan in the Seanad and the MEP has continued to work in this area as a Member of the European Parliament. A member of the Parliament’s Environment, Public Health & Food Safety Committee, she is currently working as the Greens/EFA negotiator on the Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation.


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