More must be done to stop plastic polluting Scotland’s oceans, rivers and streams according to North Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson.

Speaking in a debate in the House of Commons, the SNP MP said urgent action is needed to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced to safeguard the country’s natural environment.

Mrs Gibson warned plastic reaching our waters can have a huge impact on animals, as well as on humans as the microscopic material is passed through the food chain.

She explained: “It is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic is used every year in the UK, around half of which is not successfully recycled.

“Plastic waste does not decompose and can last for centuries, polluting soils, rivers and oceans and harming the creatures that inhabit them, entering the food chain as microplastics and may ultimately cause health problems to humans too.

“Microplastic ingestion has been correlated with irritable bowel syndrome and some plastic-associated chemicals show correlations with chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.”

The North Ayrshire MP insists more must be done to tackle the problem, and has called on the Scottish and UK Governments to work together to make it happen.

She added: “The Scottish Government is working towards making Scotland a zero waste society with a circular economy.

“It is vital that the UK Government shows more ambition to work with the international community to take coordinated and serious action for the sake of both marine and human health.”