Another clean-up for Mother Nature

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Microplastics look just like fish eggs to a hungry predator, and often get eaten! Image: gentlemanrook

By CurrentCast

This story originally appeared on CurrentCast and is republished here with permission.

Microbeads are tiny bits of plastic most often made of polyethylene. Found in face scrubs and toothpastes, they wash down the drain, slipping through filters into waterways…where they’re eaten by birds and marine life.

Now, a nationwide ban is phasing out them out. But what about the trillions already in our water?

Sherri Mason of SUNY Fredonia does not think a large scale clean-up is possible. She says, in time, the tiny beads will settle in the sediment at the bottom and be buried.

Mason: “Ultimately, the reality is that we have to change our habits to reduce the sources of these things.”

That means avoiding products with microbeads until the ban goes into effect in 2018.

Hear More:

Listen to Sherri Mason describe the effects of microbeads on aquatic organisms.

 Get Schooled:

The Fine Print:

  • This segment was produced with Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, and supported by agreement with New York Sea Grant, funds provided by the Environmental Protection Fund under the authority of the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this broadcast are those of the originators and do not necessarily reflect the views of Stony Brook University or New York Sea Grant.

One thought on “Another clean-up for Mother Nature

  1. Sadly, the microbead ban is just another government “feel good” regulation that will have more affect on the economy than the environment. Eliminating microbeads (with a zero history of any negative environmental affect) and substituting something else with who knows what affect, won’t eliminate microplastics in lakes/oceans since the vast majority originate from laundering clothing made with synthetic fibers. Is your fleece jacket going to be the next thing the government regulates out of existence?

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