Written by Kelby Johnson, ESLLC 2015-2016
This past December, Barack Obama signed a bill into law that banned products containing micro beads. Micro beads are used in many products such as face wash, toothpaste, and deodorant as an exfoliant, but their effect on the environment is very harmful.
People are under the false presumptions that the micro beads improve the effectiveness of the products, but instead they do not do much good for the user and have lasting effects on the world. The small pieces of plastic that make up the micro beads do not biodegrade and usually are not filtered out of wastewater treatment plants so they end up back in the environment. And because they don’t biodegrade, they stay in the environment for a very, very long time.
According to Newsweek, “roughly 8 trillion micro beads are currently finding their way into streams and oceans in the U.S. every single day. That’s enough tiny plastic balls to cover more than 300 tennis courts.” This amount of plastic in our environment can create huge devastation to animals and the world. And to add to that, most of the beads are captured in sewage discharge that is used as fertilizer for farms. The plastic can either stay in the soil of the farms or be carried to rivers or the ocean where they can be ingested by animals. Ingestion of these beads can cause harm to animals and the earth because of their toxicity.
The movement of enacting the bill to remove the beads is a huge step to combat this pollution, but there is still a lot to be done. A huge amount of beads are still left over in the environment and we still have to find a way to remove them.
Schlanger, Zoe. “THE U.S. JUST BANNED MICROBEADS, THOSE TINY PLASTIC ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS IN YOUR FACE WASH.”Newsweek.com. Newsweek, 31 Dec. 2015. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.