Microbeads and microplastics might be small, but they are having a major impact on our planet. At under 5mm in diameter, microbeads are intentionally created plastics commonly found in toothpaste and cosmetic products. From our showers and sinks they end up in the marine ecosystem, where they are having a effect on marine life. Microplastics are also under 5mm diameter, but are usually comprised of partially decomposed larger plastic products. Their impact is similar, and collectively microbeads and microplastics contribute to 1 % of the world’s plastic litter into the ocean.

They are a serious issue, having a big impact, damaging the health of marine species such as such as turtles and whales, and tainting our marine food sources, such as fish, crabs and mussels and food sources. Microplastics then enter the food chain, a problem with yet unknown, but potentially catastrophic implications. To stop this issue from occurring we have to phase out micro beads by 2020. We need to think about the long term effects of micro plastic pollution and change our ways before it is too late.

When we visit the beach, it is often the ‘big plastic’ that we notice
first. Bottles, bags and larger rubbish. Yet at present time the world contains a staggering 5.25 trillion floating microplastic particles, weighing in at 269,000 tonnes. There is a lot being done about ‘big plastic’- recycling schemes, beach clean ups and the like- this is still a massive problem, but at some level it is being addressed. Microplastics generally go unchecked. They are very small so time and labor is intensive to pick up them all up, often micro plastic is floating which means they are highly mobile. The bright plastic colours we use to appeal to human consumers are also very appealing to marine creatures, who often mistakenly see microplastics as a valid food source. The prolific quantity of microplastics is also frightening. With the single use of a microbeads containing cosmetic product, 5000 to 95000 microplastics particles are entering the environment. This is completely unavoidable. There are many natural exfoliates such as sea salt, coffee grounds and ground apricot kernels.

Change needs to happen sooner or later before it too late and we lose in the long term. Before the environment, marine life and human health is damaged even more than it already is.

Firstly Marine life needs to be protected and unharmed by micro plastics. Marine life is in danger which means phasing out micro beads by 2020.

Before you think of using a microbead products think of what animals are dying because of that product you’re using.

Looking at another stat saying 670 fish were examined and 35% of those 670 had microplastic in their stomachs. This seems to be a big concern for the health of the fish we eat and us humans consuming the contaminated seafood. Another stat to back up this statement is micro beads effect food products such as tuna, oysters, mussels, salmon and anchovies all the things we like to eat as humans and is a big part in people’s diet.

Secondly the environment we live is getting destroyed due to micro/ plastic pollution. Beaches are getting covered in rubbish and oceans have plastic floating on the surface.

This plastic pollution in the ocean is that bad that there is plastic islands located in the central north pacific ocean. The big plastic is seen but under the big stuff is micro plastic which is plastic what we can’t see as well. Although it can be even worse because it builds up to the point where it is big plastic.

Thirdly humans are getting affected by what they are using such as
cosmetic products. Due to micro plastic ending up in the ocean and into the food we eat. Fish are getting discovered with micro beads in there stomach.

The plastic with lead and mercury in it intoxicates fish and intoxicates us as well. Research has shown that Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) contained in some plastics, has effects to human such as cancer, birth defects, immune system problems, and childhood developmental issues.

This is a vicious cycle which is just coming back to us because we humans are putting it out.

Do you want to go to the beach and have micro plastic in between your
toes instead of sand? That’s why we have to phase out microbeads by 2020. This problem will not be solved overnight, that’s why phasing it out is the better option. We have to get on to this problem before it’s too late. Allowing the microplastic problem to go unchecked we will ultimately destroy our environment, marine life and even our own health.

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