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Quinlivan welcomes Prohibition of Micro-Plastics Bill 2016

4 May, 2017 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin Limerick City TD Maurice Quinlivan today said that he was happy to lend his support to the effort to ban microbeads and micro-plastics which are extremely hazardous to the environment.  

He was speaking on the Prohibition of Micro-Plastics Bill 2016 introduced to the Dáil by Deputy Seán Sherlock.

Speaking during his Dáil contribution on the matter, Teachta Quinlivan said;

“Sinn Féin welcomes this Bill brought forward by Labour and is happy to support such an initiative aimed at reducing the huge amount of plastic entering our oceans.

“Microbeads and micro-plastics are so small they cannot be filtered out during water treatment and end up in our rivers and oceans. These tiny pieces of plastic are then eaten by marine life and can end up in the food chain. Their effects on human health are still unknown, but it does not take a scientist to recognise that their effect would not be positive. Evidence has shown that for each shower taken using products containing microbeads, up to 100,000 pieces of plastic can end up entering the ocean.

“This is a growing international trend in this area and Ireland should not be left behind with this progressive move towards removing these harmful pieces of plastic that cannot degrade in the environment. In December 2015, former US President Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 to phase out the use of micro-plastics in personal care products. In Canada, microbeads have been added to their list of Toxic Substances and in Britain the government announced plans to ban microbeads in cosmetic products also. 

“Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s rejection last year of the previous bill brought forward by the Green Party was disappointing, and they failed to adequately explain why Ireland should not proceed ahead with such a ban.

“Citing EU rules as an excuse is ridiculous, as the European Commission has already said to the British government that it can proceed to introduce a ban on microbeads, explicitly stating that ‘a ban on certain substances on environmental grounds could also be compatible with the internal market.’ Their joint decision to abstain today is an improvement on their previous position, but unsurprisingly they remain at the back of the queue when it comes to forward thinking. 

“Sinn Féin has highlighted the problem of micro-plastics in the past, and I’d like to commend my party colleague Lynn Boylan MEP for her work on the topic in Europe.

“This Bill provides a simple solution to an avoidable environment problem and it will not have a major impact on the cosmetic industry as alternatives to microbeads are available. Sinn Féin looks forward to further scrutiny of this bill, and to proposing amendments that we feel will add to this piece of legislation.”

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