There’s no questioning the fact that we have a major plastic problem. Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced in the world every single year, and it seems like you can find nearly anything you could imagine in a disposable plastic form. While some might claim that the beauty of plastic is its convenience … we have to wonder if what we’re being sold with plastic is convenience or just a whole lotta waste.
We’re all pretty much familiar sights of plastic bags and bottles washed up on beaches or cluttering busy streets, this alone is enough to signal plastic overload alarm bells. But what is possibly more dubious are the forms of plastic waste that we create that can’t be seen, primarily this is microplastics. These teeny, tiny plastics typically come in the form of microbeads that are used as exfoliating agents in face scrubs and toothpaste. There’s even a good chance that you’ve purchased a product that contains microbeads without even realizing it just because these plastic particles are so small.
The damage that these small plastics are doing to the marine environment, however, is anything but. These beads are easily washed down the drain after you brush your teeth or wash your face, and they can pass through water filtration systems unaltered. Basically, this means they have a free pass into the ocean … where they can be ingested by everything from plankton to fish, to whales, and so on and so forth. Over the years, we’ve started to see how ingesting these plastic particles have impacted marine species, and well, it ain’t pretty. From digestion problems, reproductive issues, and toxin exposure, marine animals are bearing the brunt of our carelessness.
For something that is not only unnecessary but also being used without people even knowing, microbeads are causing a whole mess of a problem. The good news, though, is that the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bill that would ban on the use of microbeads in personal care products!
It hasn’t become law yet – but here are three very good reasons why we think this could be a HUGE win for animals:
1. The amount of microbeads being released into the ocean every day is literally unfathomable.
2. Most marine animals ingest microbeads without realizing … but these plastics tend to travel up the food chain…
3. Just because humans like to make everything in plastic form, doesn’t mean that the same applies for animals.
These are only three amongst many, MANY reasons why banning microbeads would be a complete win for animals in the U.S., so we hope that action is taken very soon to phase out these unnecessary pollutants.
The good news is, we don’t have to wait to take action to prevent microbeads from entering our oceans, we can all start crushing the plastic microbead with our personal choices today!
To learn more how to cut plastic out of your personal hygiene routine, check out Ultimate Guide to DIY: Hygiene.
Lead image source: Alessandro Caproni/Flickr