Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Ban on polluting 'microbeads' enters into force in Britain

Ban on polluting 'microbeads' enters into force in Britain

Some have criticized the ban for not including other types of products that contain microbeads, such as sunscreen, lipstick, and paints.

What are microbeads and what products use them?

Rinse-off products containing microbeads will be fully banned from sale beginning in July, the BBC reported.

Microbeads, the tiny pieces of plastic personal care manufacturers add to shower gels, toothpastes and other items, have officially been banned in the United Kingdom.

They also represent a portion of the growing plastic pollution problem in our waterways.

The landmark was described by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as of one of the world's toughest bans on these harmful pieces of plastic.

The ban does include microbead products marketed as biodegradable, because those products don't always biodegrade fast enough to avoid damaging marine ecosystems.

"The world's seas and oceans are some of our most valuable natural assets and I am determined we act now to tackle the plastic that devastates our precious marine life", the U.K.'s Environment Minister Therese Coffey said in a statement.

UK Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey called the "world-leading" ban an "important milestone" in a statement.

They have been widely criticised by environmentalists and marine conservationists for their harmful effects on animals and the environment.

Mary Creagh MP, EAC chair, said: "The microbead ban is a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done". The UK government first pledged to ban plastic microbeads in September 2016, following a USA ban in 2015. The move led to fears among environmental and industry groups that mountains of plastic waste would pile up as Britain's recycling infrastructure became stretched to its limits. This is the strongest and most comprehensive ban to be enacted in the world and will help to stem the flow of micro plastics into our oceans.

"We believe that this signals a real commitment on the part of this Government to clean up our seas and beaches and hope this is a first step on this road before we see further actions to combat plastic waste".

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