My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How US microbeads ban by 2017 means NEPA ban coming to protect Coral Reefs

Sunday, January 3, 2016

How US microbeads ban by 2017 means NEPA ban coming to protect Coral Reefs

“The US has acted, and the UK should be acting right now. The evidence is clear and unequivocal: microbeads in cosmetics products are ending up in our waters, in our sea life, and in our own bodies, with pesticides and other chemicals attached,”

Leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett calling for the UK to ban microbeads in personal products

It's bad enough that we're polluting outer space with satellite debris and leftover from rocket launches as noted in my MICO Wars blog article “Why 60 years Space Junk will make future Manned Missions difficult”.

Now it’s becoming more and more apparent that there is tons of plastic floating out there in the oceans.  So much so that most of it has formed swirling islands, such as the Great Pacific Garbage  Patch

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So it was great news to hear that President Barack Obama has signed the bi-partisan supported Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 as reported in the article “The U.S. just banned Microbeads, those tiny plastic environmental disasters on your facewash”, published 31 December 2015 by Zoe Schlanger, Newsweek.

I for one love it, as it means the animals of the sea have finally gotten justice!

This means manufacturers of soaps shampoos, body scrubs and any other product that uses these plastic microbeads for their scrubbing effect have to remove them from their products by July 1st  2017 as reported in the article “US to ban soaps and other products containing microbeads”, published Tuesday 8 December 2015 by Oliver Milman, The UK Guardian

So what exactly are microbeads?

Microbeads explained - Bad for Agriculture and Aquatic life

Microbeads are basically tiny bits of plastic that are spherical or having other shapes, usually 5 millimeters in diameter, that are placed into your washing products and even toothpaste. Their main purposes is to provide an exfoliating or cleansing effect to help clean these parts of your body better that need a good scrubbing!

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Problem is these microbeads are made from non-biodegradable plastic.

So once they’re used and down the drain, it ends up in your sewer system (for First World Countries) where it cannot be processed by Sewage Systems. It also ends up in Waste Water reclamation systems that process water for drinking and agricultural, creating further environmental and ecological havoc.

This means that microbeads can potentially end up in water for agricultural uses, drinking water and eventually into the sea to be ingested by fish and other marine life, with toxic results! This as the microbeads can soak up pollutants, which the fish eat, mistaking them for fish eggs.

This results in the fish either dying from the microbeads and the toxic pollutants. If the survive and are caught by humans or animals and eaten, we to will be affected by the microbeads and poisonous toxins we ingest, causing everything from liver damage to birth defects!

In the Caribbean and other Third World countries it poses an even more serious problem; it affects our fishing industry, as microbeads cannot be processed by our Water Filtration Systems. Akin to our First World counterparts, these microbeads eventual end up in the ocean, killing our fish, coral reefs with a long term effect on our tourism product!

So now that the US of A is taking action and other may follow, what can be done to remove plastic from the environment?

Britain and Taiwan mulling microbead ban – Jamaica importation ban needed to protect Coral Reefs

Already other countries are considering bans on these persistent plastic pollutants.

Taiwan's EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is reportedly considering similar bans on the use of microbeads in products imported and made in their country as noted in “Taiwan mulling whether to follow United States banning of microbeads”, published January 1, 2016, The China Post.

Britain is now coming under pressure from the Leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett to enforce a similar ban on microbeads use in such products as reported in the article “Call for UK ban on ‘microbeads’ pollutant after Obama takes action in US”, published Thursday 31 December 2015 by Jon Stone, The Independent.

Jamaica may soon follow, as a ban on microbeads would protect our fragile Coral Reefs and protect Parrotfish, the guardian of the Coral as noted in my blog article entitled “How Parrotfish and Sea Urchins can save Coral Reef, Beaches and US$3 billion Jamaican Tourism Industry”. 

As the US of A plans to ban microbeads in soaps, toothpaste and body scrubs, the Jamaican Government can by 2017 ban the importation of such products.   

Here’s the link:

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