Microbeads ban urgently needed, say Labour and Green Party

‘Only a matter of time before these harmful products enter the human food chain’

Microplastics are small plastic fragments that commonly originate from the breakdown of larger plastic items. Photograph: Getty Images

Microplastics are small plastic fragments that commonly originate from the breakdown of larger plastic items. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Labour and the Green Party have called on the Government to pass legislation banning the use of microbeads and other micro-plastics immediately.

The Government initially committed to ban the plastic beads in November 2016.

Labour TD Seán Sherlock raised serious environmental concerns following the publication of research from NUIG scientists. This data shows almost three-quarters of deep- water fish surveyed in some of the most remote parts of the Atlantic Ocean had ingested plastic particles, one of the highest reported frequencies in fish worldwide.

Mr Sherlock warned that fish were being severely affected by Irish plastic waste and called for the Government to “swiftly progress” Labour legislation to ban microbeads.

“It is only a matter of time before these harmful products eventually enter the human food chain,” he said. “We cannot afford to wait that long and allow further damage to be caused to our marine life.”

Plastic pollution

“The issue of plastic pollution is a massive challenge,” said Ms O’Sullivan. “Every year, over 110 million tonnes of plastic is produced. Of this, up to 43 per cent ends up in landfill. According to the UN, eight million tonnes of plastic leak into oceans each year.

“It is now predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish and that 99 per cent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.”

Microplastics are small plastic fragments that commonly originate from the breakdown of larger plastic items. Other sources may be waste water effluents carrying plastic fibres from clothing and microbeads from personal care products.