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EU gives Ireland the green light to introduce microbead ban

The European Commission has given clearance for the bill.

Image: Shutterstock/KYTan

THE EU HAS cleared the way for the Irish Government to introduce laws which be ban microbeads. 

Minister Eoghan Murphy last night announced the European Commission’s clearance for the restrictions on microbeads contained in the Microbeads (Prohibition) Bill 2019.

The minister welcomed the green light from the European Commission for his proposals. This will now facilitate further consideration of the bill at committee stage in the Dáil.

The bill will provide for a ban on 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.

Murphy said: “Now that the standstill period has been concluded, I look forward to working with my Oireachtas colleagues at Committee Stage at the earliest opportunity so that we can have this bill in force 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.”

Murphy added that  plastic microbeads represent only one element of the microplastics in our oceans.

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. 

Murphy added: “I am increasingly concerned about the potential risk posed to our aquatic ecosystems by microplastic litter, including plastic microbeads. I know this concern is shared widely, across all parties in the Oireachtas and throughout broader society.  

“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.”

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