A recent legislation has been passed in the UK, banning the sale of products being sold that include microbeads, such as soap, shower gel and tooth paste. Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic which are causing a damaging effect on the environment; one shower is believed to send as many as 100,000 microbeads down the drain and into the ocean.
Michael Gove, Environment Secretary, added: “Microbeads might be tiny, but they are lethal to sea creatures and entirely unnecessary. We have led the way in banning these toxic pieces of plastic, but this is by no means the end in our fight.”
The legislation is part of the 25-Year Environment Plan, implemented the 5p charge for plastic bags, and has recently proposed future movements, such as banning the sale of plastic straws, plastic-stemmed cotton buds and stirrers, as well as creating a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.
Dr Sue Kinsey, Senior Pollution Policy Officer at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “We are delighted that this robust microbead ban has come into force. This is the strongest and most comprehensive ban to be enacted in the world so far and will help to stem the flow of microplastics into our oceans.”
It is hoped that the ban will help to clean up seas and beaches by reducing the amount of waste that is channelled to them. Although this change will have a positive impact on the environment, there is still a long way to go, and the Government are still seeking ‘how other microplastic sources enter our marine environment’.