Raindrops-in-water_shutterstock_44598319_Thomas Dutour

UK Government fails to protect ocean from chemical pollution crisis

2 minute read

We're launching a new campaign to address the chemical pollution crisis. You can help #StopOceanPoision by signing our petition and contacting your local MP.


At a time when environmental laws are under attack, UK Government must deliver what they've promised and take action on chemical pollution to protect people and planet. That means a strong, fit-for-purpose UK Chemicals Strategy and tackling harmful forever chemicals.

Harmful chemicals are polluting the ocean and planet. PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) or ‘forever chemicals’ are just one group – containing thousands of individual chemicals – of ocean poisons. There’s now clear evidence that harmful chemicals are in all water on Earth, building up constantly, creating a toxic legacy.

Research has proven links between harmful chemicals and the health of animals, including harm to animals’ nervous systems, immunity and ability to reproduce, alongside reducing their resilience to other stressors such as climate change and disease.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. With more studies on the long-term effects of chemical pollution published regularly, research is showing the frightening real-world consequences of inaction on chemical pollution on our blue planet.

SOP Infographic - What is PFAS in

Forever chemicals are widely used, but rarely labelled – an invisible ‘ingredient’ used to make products resistant to heat, water and grease.

We aren’t being told that these harmful chemicals, in everyday products like saucepans and waterproof coats, are washing into waterways and finding their way into the ocean.

The UK Government is currently allowing the use of harmful chemicals which are poisoning our blue planet. This is a crime, but it isn't illegal. We can't allow protections to be forgotten while our ocean and wildlife suffer the consequences.

We want to see a strong UK Chemicals Strategy that prioritises the protection of the environment, as promised in the 25 Year Environment Plan, and a ban on all PFAS from all non-essential uses.

By contrast, the UK Government’s deregulation agenda, which seeks to review, remove or update EU law, could see existing chemical pollution protections scrapped.

Sandy Luk, our Chief Executive said, “The impact of chemical pollution on our blue planet is profound. If we’re going to prevent further environmental breakdown and fight the biodiversity crisis, we must address chemical pollution.

“The UK Government's recent announcements pit growing the economy against maintaining environmental protections. We can’t allow progress on protection from chemical pollution to be put in jeopardy."

There can be no long-term economic growth or national food security if our environment is a chemical crime scene.

Sandy Luk, our Chief Executive

We need a strong UK Chemicals Strategy to address the huge scale of the chemical pollution crisis. Instead, latest proposals could wipe out rafts of environmental and conservation regulations, threatening our marine wildlife through damaging development and unregulated pollution.