Why the WarOnPlastic must go micro

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According to a recent survey by the Save the Environment Movement (POBA), the use of plastics in Bangladesh has grown to 1,200,000 metric tons in 2018 compared to just 15 thousand metric tons in 1990.

Microplastic pollution is a new phenomenon in Bangladesh, but the consumers are not so aware of the dangerous impact of microplastic. Another name of microplastic is microbeads, which are tiny plastic particles of fewer than five millimeters in their largest dimension. And commercially available in particle sizes, microbeads most frequently consist of polyethylene, polypropylene terephthalate, polymethyl, polylactic acid.

Basically, we start our day by using microbeads, at the end of the day we having various foods in our dinner which is the jumble of microbeads. But really amazing that, we don’t know actually what we eat! There are approximately 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans. 92% of which are microplastics. And one tube of facial scrub can contain more than 300,000 plastic microbeads. In our maximum personal care product also consists of microbeads. According to a research of the Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University Bangladesh showed that- face wash, scrub, body wash, toothpaste, nail polish, detergent and cream contain microbeads. Out of 104 products, almost 50% have to contain microbeads.

Above all, the facewash products are acting as the major source of microbeads pollution in Bangladesh. Which is contributing to about 43% of the total pollution. Because this product is mostly used by both male and female. Detergent is another large source of microbeads pollution. About 50% of household work use microbeads containing detergents which are discharged to the water body in a huge amount. Various kinds of make-up products like as lip gloss, nail polish, sunscreen powder and cream also contain these harmful microbeads.

Microbeads not only invaded our personal care products it also creates an imbalance situation in the marine ecosystem. Tiny pieces of plastic used in personal care products and designed to go down the drain and into our lakes,  rivers and oceans by the billions every day. According to Plastic Solution Fund (PSF) their study found that three major cities of Bangladesh like as Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet city dwellers release a huge quantity of microbeads in every month. Around 6628.46 billion of microbeads from Dhaka, 1087.18 billions of microbeads from Chittagong and 212.38 billion of microbeads from Sylhet city are dumped into the water bodies and wetland per month. The research also shows that, fishes of Dhaka city were found with the highest micro beads content.

Microbeads also impact our environment. It has been shown to sorb chemical pollutants from their surrounding as to their role in the movement of these pollutants through the food chain. It also an imbalance in our ecosystem.

Microbeads created various dangerous diseases in the human body. Fish Consumed microbeads and then fishes are consumed by the human. The huge microbeads content in the human body will highly cost the environment and human health by calling heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity in the human body.

Recently there are so many campaign start around the whole world to ban microbeads containing products. In 2015 the United States enacted federal legislation to ban microbeads. The story of staff projects lead a coalition of over 100 groups to push back on industry-sponsored state legislation and ultimately succeeded. Currently, other countries including Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and many others are considering micro beads ban legislation as well. Bangladesh also bans many products but a large number of company sale microbeads containing products by the illegal way. People affected various diseases to using these products.

It’s not to easy work to ban microbeads containing products within a few days or few months. But mass public awareness is also needed and they should immediately ban of microbeads containing products, stop production sale and import of microbeads containing products and legislation to ban the use of microplastic in Bangladesh. The researcher said the woman is at greater risk of using microbeads products. Because daily they use huge amount of microbeads containing products. If they don’t stop using microbeads products they suffer not only ovarian cancer and skin cancer they also affected by perilous diseases which destroy their life easily.

Now, we can give the concern to come forward and raise the voice to ban microbeads. The government should take severest steps immediately to stop import and sale of microbeads-containing products and foods. If the people aware about the dangerous impact of microbeads containing products may be in future we can get microplastic pollution free Bangladesh.

Professor Dr. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder, Chairman, Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University Bangladesh

  • Environment
  • Why the #WarOnPlastic must go micro
  • Professor Dr. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder
  • Issue 9
  • Vol 35
  • DhakaCourier

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