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Displaying items by tag: microbeads

Legislation aimed at reducing microplastic pollution in marine and fresh waters has been enacted by the Government, four months after the EU gave clearance for the move writes Lorna Siggins

The Microbeads (Prohibition) Act 2019 (Commencement) Order 2020 was signed into law earlier this month by Minister for Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy and came into effect yesterday.

As Afloat reported last October, a small number of EU member states have introduced similar measures in relation to cosmetics and personal care products, Ireland has “gone further” and “extended these prohibitions to household and Industrial cleaning products”, Mr Murphy’s department says.

The Act prohibits “the manufacture or placing on the market of cosmetics and personal care products that may be washed or rinsed off with water, as well as household and industrial cleaning products, and that contain plastic microbeads”.

“Placing on the market is defined as “to sell; offer or expose for sale; advertise or invite an offer to purchase; distribute free of charge; import or export; or supply for any of those purposes (whether or not for profit)”.

The Act also makes it an offence to dispose of any substance containing microbeads by pouring it down the drain or into marine or freshwater environments.

The aim is to protect marine wildlife and the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been assigned responsibility for implementing the legislation, with support from Customs officials and the Gardaí.

A person summarily convicted under the legislation could receive a Class A fine and//or a prison sentence of up to six months.

Conviction on indictment may mean a fine of up to €3,000,000 and/ or a prison sentence of up to five years.

The department said that Ireland would “continue to work” with the European Commission and other EU member states to develop “further robust regulatory measures to address microplastic pollution”.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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The EU has permitted the Irish government to introduce legislation restricting use of plastic microbeads to protect marine wildlife and the environment writes Lorna Siggins.

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy confirmed the European Commission’s clearance last night (Wed), and said he hoped the new legislation would be in place as soon as possible.

“While several states legislated to prohibit personal care products containing plastic microbeads Ireland will be the first EU member state to extend such prohibition to detergents, abrasive scouring agents and other cleaning products," he said.

Mr Murphy also announced initiation of an expert group to advise on expanding Ireland’s marine protected areas (MPAs).

He was speaking at An Taisce’s annual Clean Coasts “Love Your Coast” photography awards in The Morrison Hotel, Dublin.

Mr Murphy acknowledged that plastic microbeads “represent only one element of the microplastics in our oceans”.

“However, it is estimated that many billions are being washed down the drain and into the world’s rivers, lakes and seas each year. Once in our rivers and seas, they can last for centuries without breaking down. Aquatic animals may ingest them and they cannot be removed once they are in the marine environment,”he said.

The Microbeads (Prohibition) Bill 2019, which is at committee stage in the Dáil, required EU approval, due to its proposed restriction on the free movement of goods in the European single market.

The legislation will provide for a prohibition of the “manufacture, import, export or sale of products containing intentionally added plastic microbeads, to include “rinse-off” personal care products, detergents, and domestic and industrial abrasive cleaning products and scouring agents”.

Mr Murphy submitted a derogation notification for the Bill to the European Commission on 19th July 2019, along with detailed technical documentation supporting the justification for the restriction on environmental grounds.

The notification carried with it a three month standstill period during which time the legislation could not be enacted in compliance with EU legislation, and that standstill period concluded on October 21st.

The legislation provides that the Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for implementation, Mr Murphy said.

It proposes that a person convicted would receive a Class A fine and/or a prison sentence of up to six months on summary conviction, or a fine of up to €3,000,000 and or a prison sentence of up to five years on indictment.

“While this is an important step, it is only one of many measures we will have to introduce over the coming years to reduce the level of litter and plastic pollution entering our seas and oceans,” Mr Murphy said.

In addition to introducing national legislation, the Government has been “actively supporting the development of measures at EU-level to tackle plastic waste including through the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy adopted in January 2018”, he said.

Mr Murphy also said he intended to bring forward primary legislation to designate marine protected areas (MPAs) next year, and plans to “significantly expand” Ireland’s network of such protected zones to meet current internationally agreed target of ten per cent.

He said it was central to Ireland’s implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the OSPAR Convention, and commitments under the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity”.

He said that he had invited Professor Tasman Crowe, director of the Earth Institute and associate dean of science at University College, Dublin to chair an expert advisory group.

“The other members of the advisory group will be selected from across a range of sectors and will consist of members with appropriate national and international expertise,” Mr Murphy said, and its composition would be “announced shortly”.

“Their work will include reviewing existing protection measures and advising me on the processes required for the creation of MPAs,” Mr Murphy said.

The group “will also consider the gaps in existing legislation to underpin such a network” he said, and he expected the work would take place over a period of six months. The report with recommendations would “feed into the development of this important new legislation”, he said.

MPAs can take a variety of forms ranging from exclusive marine reserves to areas allowing sustainable use and restricting specific activities, Mr Murphy’s department said.

“Ireland's future network may include the incorporation of existing marine Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) under the Birds or Habitats Directives. It may also incorporate protection measures established under the Common Fisheries Programme (CFP) and other conservation and protection measures,”it said.

“MPAs can also play a role in mitigating the effects of climate change and ocean acidification by ensuring that the marine ecosystems are healthy and resilient and by safeguarding the marine environment’s current role as a natural storage of carbon,” it said.

Ireland, through the EU, is a party to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

It has agreed that “by 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscape and seascape”.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

© Afloat 2020

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