Respect the ocean, protect the ocean!
Did you brush your teeth with minty toothpaste this morning or wash your body with certain body wash or face soap? Unfortunately then, you may have exposed yourself to a polluting plastic, which is known as micro-beads. It has been identified that a large number of personal care products that are available in the market contain a considerable percentage of minuscule plastic balls, which are known as micro-beads. The micro-beads have replaced traditional biodegradable ingredients such as salt crystals or nut shells along with time because they are cheeper and easier to produce. Micro beads makes the washing process smoother than it was when apricot shells, jojoba beans or pumice were used. But is smoother really better? Well no because the products are less effective at exfoliating which means you have to and can use them more often and therefore you are more likely buy more products. Micro beads are good for business but bad for nature.
Micro-beads and why they should be banned
What exactly are micro-beads? As mentioned earlier, micro-beads can simply be defined as extremely small pieces of plastic, which can be found in everyday cosmetic products such as toothpastes, body wash, lip gloss, nail polish, age defying make ups and face washes. Polythene is the key building component of micro-beads, but you can also find some other petrochemical plastics such as polystyrene and polypropylene.
What’s so worrying about micro-beads? The small size of micro-beads have given them the ability to go down you plughole and pass through the water filtration system without any difficulty. This can give life to a variety of issues in the long run.
The size of micro-beads usually varies from 0.3 millimetres up to 5 millimetres maximum. Because of this small parameter some people believe that they are not in a position to cause any harm. However, it is important to keep in mind that the usage of cosmetic products that you use on a daily basis release millions of micro-beads down the sink every day. Study from State University of New York found anywhere between 1 500 to 1.1 million microbeads per square mile on the surface of the Great Lakes. Even more microbeads end up in the seas and oceans which can create a tremendous impact on the food chain. Therefore, the micro-beads that you wash away can cause a negative impact on your life in the long run.
From the recent studies, it has been identified that a huge percentage of sea creatures have plastic within their bodies. The release of micro-beads through cosmetic products is the most prominent reason behind this issue especially in costal waters. Study published in the Science has found that some fish would rather feed on plastic than on plankton they eat normally. This causes greater mortality and changes in behaviour. The release of micro-beads has not just affected marine life. Another research indicated that more than 90% of the birds have plastic inside their stomachs. In addition, the micro-beads that can be found in day-to-day cosmetic products end up within the human body as well. They don’t only get to the human body through toothpaste. When you eat seafood, there is a high chance of micro-beads entering into your body with the fish meat. Because microbeads are good at absorbing persistent pollutants (pesticides, flame retardant, motor oil… ) along with industrial chemicals the fish dinner these days is anything but healthy. Single microbead can be million times more toxic than the watter around.
As you can see, it is the high time for all of us to campaign against micro-beads. Several countries in the world such as United States, UK and Canada have already taken necessary measures in order to ban the cosmetic products that come along with micro-beads. World famous brands such as Boots, L’Oreal, Avon and Asda have also pledged not to use any micro-beads when producing cosmetic products. It is our responsibility to protect the nature and stay away as much as we can from products harming our environment.