A SCOTTISH university is leading the charge on calling for action on the threats posed to the world’s islands by micro plastics in our oceans.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is leading 30 island universities from across the world in an open letter to the United Nations, European Union, Scottish Government and the UK Government.

The university’s principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Clive Mulholland, also the president of Reseau d’Excellence des Territoires Insulaires (RETI), the worldwide federation of island universities, said: “There is an issue of growing anxiety for scientists and the public alike.

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“As a federation of island universities who are more affected by the impact of micro plastics on our campus environment, we are already committed to doing all we can through further research and academic collaboration.

“However, we also wanted the big players in this worldwide issue to recognise that we can work with them to tackle this global concern, through our academic expertise and commitment.”

Many RETI member universities have researchers actively investigating this issue and they have agreed to act now on behalf of islands across the world.

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The letter, written by Mulholland and calling for cooperation, says: “We welcome the recent initiative from the European Commission ‘Clean energy for EU islands’, which recognises the urgent need for action and the specific role of island communities.

“We welcome the recognition from UN Secretary-General António Guterres on last year’s World Environment Day, citing: ‘From remote islands to the Arctic, nowhere is untouched. If present trends continue, by 2050 our oceans will have more plastic than fish.’

“The RETI partners... have already committed to doing all we can through further research and academic collaboration.

“As a group from island universities, we would welcome the opportunity to work with you to help address this growing global concern.”

Mulholland finishes by saying: “This is a global concern – the answer must lie in global cooperation and we stand at the ready to contribute our expertise and commitment.”