The UK officially began enforcing a ban on the manufacture of products containing microbeads on Tuesday, the tiny plastic beads that are added to things like toothpaste, shampoo, and other various beauty products as exfoliants. When washed away, thousands of tons of the tiny plastic beads manage to flow through treatment filters and make their way to various waters, eventually polluting and harming the ecosystems. Besides having a harmful effect on marine life due to fish consuming the toxic plastic beads, those same toxins can end up on people's dinner plates.
Thérèse Coffey, UK's Environment Minister, said in a Guardian interview, "The world’s seas and oceans are some of our most valuable natural assets. I am determined we act now to tackle the plastic that devastates our precious marine life."
With the ban, the UK now joins countries like Canada, US and New Zealand in the fight against plastic pollution in the form of microbeads. Other countries such as Sweden, Austria, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium have issued a joint call to outlaw the tiny particles as well.
The ban on the sale of products containing microbeads will go into effect in the UK later this year.