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Marine Institute CEO Warns of Microbeads Entering Food-Chain

12th January 2018
Small but harmful: Microbeads are tiny plastic balls, found in soaps, shower gels and facial scrubs. The Marine Institute CEO said 8 million tonnes of plastic is annually dumped into the oceans and warned if the trend continues, by 2050 it is estimated there will be more weight of plastic population in the ocean, than the entire population of fish. Small but harmful: Microbeads are tiny plastic balls, found in soaps, shower gels and facial scrubs. The Marine Institute CEO said 8 million tonnes of plastic is annually dumped into the oceans and warned if the trend continues, by 2050 it is estimated there will be more weight of plastic population in the ocean, than the entire population of fish.

#MarineScience- The Marine Institute's CEO says the key risk with microbeads is the potential to get into the food chain, eventually getting into products eaten by humans.

According to RTÉ where Dr Peter Heffernan was speaking on 'Morning Ireland', the CEO said legislation banning the use and manufacture of microbeads is expected to be passed in the Dáil by the end of the year.

Microbeads are tiny plastic balls, found in soaps, shower gels and facial scrubs.

The move to ban microbeads is aimed at protecting the marine environment from one source of plastic pollution, as microbeads are washed down the drain and can enter the seas and be swallowed by fish and crustaceans with potentially harmful effects.

Remnants of microbeads can also be found in plastic container waste that can also end up in the sea.

Dr Heffernan said: "The key risk with microbeads is the potential to get into the food chain, something that small can be eaten by a small micro organism at the base of the food chain in the ocean and eventually end up in products that humans can eat, the fish that we love.

"Ireland, before the end of 2018, will introduce a ban, both on the manufacture and the sale, of any products containing microbeads."

Yesterday, a UK-wide ban on the manufacture of cosmetics and care products containing "microbeads" came into force.

To read further click the RTE report here.

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