An important bill to ban microbeads is due to be debated in the Dail today but is already set to fail due to government opposition.
The Green Party’s Micro-Plastic and Micro-bead Pollution Prevention Bill aims to ban the manufacture and sale of microbeads in Ireland.
Microbeads are a tiny plastic ingredient found in many cosmetic products like facial scrubs and tend to be present in extremely high numbers. They are too small to be filtered out by sewage treatment and inevitably get washed out into the sea. There they add to the already considerable plastic pollution in our oceans. But their polluting impact doesn’t stop there. These toxic particles are consumed by marine life and end up swimming up the food chain, ultimately finding their way onto our plates when we eat seafood.
Back in June the UK made the move to ban the use of these harmful beads in cosmetic products following in the footsteps of Sweden, Canada and the US who had already imposed the ban.
Grace O Sullivan – this bill was the beginning of areas of marine protection in our territorial waters and FG killed it @morningireland
— Lorna Bogue (@LornaBogue) November 23, 2016
But while this would be a much welcomed bill it already looks like the Government will oppose it. While they are supportive of the concept in principle they say that it is too restrictive and not compatible with European Union treaties which guarantee the free movement of goods.
Fianna Fáil are working on their own bill to ban microbeads which claims to be a “better, tougher’ bill.
— Kate Roycroft (@kateroycroft) November 23, 2016
While it looks like a ban on the beads is off the cards for now hope is not lost. Each one of us can do our own bit by simply not buying products that contain microbeads. Check products before you buy them to make sure they don’t contain the beads or download this handy app that scans the barcode to let you know if the product is bead free.