Have you ever noticed the tiny bits in face scrubs or the little colourful specs in a face wash? Yes?
Well, these insignificant little particles have a major role to play. They are not just some other beauty formula but minuscule particles of plastic that can harm your skin, your teeth, your hair and of course the environment.
There is eye-opening evidence that shows that these dead dermis removing beads are equally adept at butchering marine life and introducing harmful chemicals into the food chain.
However, what are these nano specs called?
How can such tiny things be a big threat to living organisms’ health and the environment?
These questions bubble up when the concern involves health and environment.
Let’s learn about these micro particles and how they are hazardous.
The Microbeads &the Pollution they cause!
Termed as Micro-beads, these minute particles are pieces of plastic that range from less than five millimetres in their largest dimension to about a quarter millimetre. These diminutive particles are made of polyethylene. Other than this, micro-beads can also contain petrochemical plastics such as polypropylene and polystyrene.
How are Micro-beads Hazardous?
These little evils are widely used in soaps and other personal care products to cleanse the dead debris on the skin. When you bathe, the micro-beads gush down the plug hole and seep their way out through water filtration systems due to their tiny size.
Later, these mini beasts end up in the marine where fish gulp them and harm aquatic life. Micro-beads particles have also been found ingested by shellfish and birds ensuing in loss of their life.
A research report estimated that in the year 2010 from 4.8 million to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic was dumped into the ocean and reached the abdomens of plankton, whales, and other oceanic species.
The actual figures of damage caused by micro-plastic pollution are not yet known. Research is still in process. It is alleged that the pollution caused by micro-plastic is potentially more ecologically destructive than larger pieces of plastics as they have a greater surface area that can transfer chemicals in and out of the oceans.
“The small particles in shower gels, face wash, and toothpaste are a preventable part of this toxic problem. A single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean.”
Countries Banning It
Prohibiting the use of micro-beads was one of the hottest affairs in 2016; the movement continues in 2017. A number of campaigns were launched to stop their use. The Daily Mail’s ‘Ban the Toxic Beads Now’ is one the campaigns that resulted in a government commitment to end all usage by the end of 2017.
Countries like New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hawaii, Spain, The Netherlands and the United States have already banned the use of Micro-beads achieving the Zero logo.
Nations like Austria, Brazil, Greece, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Norway, Portugal and so forth have taken initiatives to stop the usage of Micro-beads in personal care products.
What do the Volunteers demand?
- Boycott using products like scrubs, face wash, shower gels, with micro-beads. Check out the ingredient label for the words like ‘polyethylene’ or ‘polystyrene’ to avoid buying them.
- Leave the plastic bags alone. Cart your goods in reusable bags designed from biodegradable material.
- Recycle! Check out the bottom of the plastic container. Most bottles are marked with #1 (PET), which is commonly accepted by most curbside recycling companies. Containers patent #2 and #5 are also recyclable in some areas.
- Don’t litter! Every-time you visit the beach or any other such place, keep your trash in your
- Be an initiator. You can take part in clean-up programs and help the environment.
Little droplets of water can fill up an ocean. Likewise, your small efforts can help in bringing the change and saving our Blue Planet. Skip the microbeads, go natural!
Company Bio – This blog post is a contribution by Sharda University, a University that welcomes and encourages diverse ideas, beliefs, and cultures for a collaborative learning environment. This post is written to spread awareness about micro-beads and their effects.