In light of the above, it will be useful to provide the Commission by the end of 2018 with an Explanatory Note which captures the different facets of the complexity of microplastics. This Explanatory Note, based on a planned evidence review report by SAPEA giving a state-of-the-art synthesis of relevant published scientific evidence and findings, will be presented in a way to promote a more informed public and policy debate.
The proposed components of the Explanatory Note are:
- A rapid evidence review, map and summary of the many existing natural sciences reviews andboverview reports10 covering exposure, (eco)toxicology, environmental and human health risks and incorporating recent primary literature not covered by existing reviews
- A digest and analysis of the social and behavioural sciences covering issues such as risk perception11 by citizens, the behaviour of stakeholders, the political economy and psychology of the microplastic debate, public good, and opportunity cost policy considerations
- A political and legal sciences analysis of the different national and international legislative/ regulatory/ policy frameworks of relevance – including substance-focused (REACH, drinking water,…) and ecosystem-focused (water framework directive, marine strategy framework directive, …) measures
- An assessment of relevant modelling approaches and of their potential to shed light on some of the more complex aspects of microplastics including future “what if?” and “under which conditions?” scenarios.
Following on from the Explanatory Note, we would aim to publish a series of recommendations in the form of a Scientific Opinion in spring 2019.