UK ban polluting microbeads, Ireland should follow

The British government has announced that they will be banning the use of harmful microbeads in cosmetic products.

They had previously rejected the idea saying they were more in favour of a voluntary approach for the industry to remove microbeads but a recent vote means there will now be a complete ban of the dangerous microplastics. This move follows Sweden, Canada and the US who have already imposed the ban.

The offending items: Microbeads

Microbeads cause havoc in the marine environment

If you haven’t heard of them microbeads are tiny bits of plastics that are used in personal care products. These tiny beads get flushed down our drains and wastewater treatment plants are unable to filter them out so they become unleashed into our oceans. This is hugely damaging for the marine environment and adds to the million tonnes of plastic already floating in our seas. But the damage doesn’t end there, they also pose a direct threat to our own health. These beads are ingested by fish and enter the food chain. We humans end up meeting these tiny plastics that we have so carelessly washed down the drain again on our dinner plate.

As of now, the ban has not been imposed in Ireland though we are hoping that we will follow the lead of the UK and US. For now though you can check if the products you use have these toxic beads by downloading this handy app set up by a Dutch environmental NGO. You just scan the bar code to check for the presence of microbeads.

It’s time to remove these pollutants from the sea, from our cosmetics and from our dinner plates.

To download the app go to: Get.beatthemicrobead.org

About the Author

Ann Robinson

Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me ann@coastmonkey.ie or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22