On the 21st July the UK government proposed the worlds strongest ban on microbeads to date. This is fantastic news and a huge success for Greenpeace who campaigned tirelessly for a ban. This comes after the Minister for the Environment in Sweden, announced a ban on the sale of cosmetics containing microplastics at the United Nations Ocean Conference at the beginning of June 2017.
Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic that are found in a lot of cosmetic products such as toothpaste, soap and face scrubs. After they are washed down our plug holes they make their way into our oceans and waterways and interfering with marine life. What people didn’t realise is that these microbeads can then be mistaken for food by fish which cause long term damage. This is why Greenpeace launched their campaign last year to raise awareness and get the government to act.
Picture Credit: Food Revolution
Over 385,000 people signed Greenpeace UK’s biggest petition yet, calling for the UK government to ban microbeads. Thousands emailed their MPs, posted on social media and shared ideas for microbead alternatives. Microbeads went from being virtually unknown, to being talked about by everyone from government ministers to celebrities – they even made it onto the front pages of national newspapers! Read more about it here – GreenPeace – The UK Government have banned ocean polluting microbeads
“It’s crucial that ministers have left the door open to broadening the ban in future. To achieve a fully comprehensive ban covering all products that go down the drain, we need companies to be much more transparent about when their products contain harmful microbeads. Now that ministers have acknowledged the broader need to end ocean plastics, they should take swift action to tackle the mountain of single-use plastic bottles threatening our oceans by introducing a deposit return scheme.”
-Louisa Casson – Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace
Other organisations such as the Marine Conservation Society, Fauna and Flora International and the Environmental Investigations Agency all joined in the battle to protect our oceans and the marine life that live within them.
There are still many threats facing our oceans – from climate change to over-fishing to plastic bottles but signing petitions and fighting for change really can make a difference!!