European Chemicals Agency Drafts Law to Curtail Plastic Pollution

The European Union has proposed a comprehensive ban on microplastics encompassing nearly 90% of pollutants, in an attempt to slash 400,000 tons of plastic pollution in a couple of decades.

Europe let-offs a hefty amount of microplastics, which is 6 times larger than the ‘Great Pacific garbage patch’ and is equivalent of 10bn plastic bottles, into the environment.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has proposed a law which is expected to phase out 36,000 tons of ‘intentionally added’ microplastic fibers and fragments annually, starting in next year.

The law would demand renovations in a wide range of products, ranging from paints and coatings, cosmetics, detergents, to agriculture, construction, and fossil fuels sectors. The proposed law targets microplastics, which is often added in products for profit or convenience.

According to the UN’s special rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes, Baskut Tuncak microplastics are raising concerns for numerous human rights. He said that the draft proposed by ECHA is a must to ensure that the upcoming generations can witness a healthy, clean, and sustainable environment.

Last year, Britain imposed a comparatively more restricted ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products, focusing on shower gel, toothpaste and shaving foam.  As per the authors of the drafted plan, the EU’s measure is highly comprehensive in terms of the volumes, sectors, and product usages covered.

According to a Peter Simpson, a senior ECHA scientist they are also considering ‘leave-on’ cosmetics, including moisturizers or make up, and detergents, which were not a part of the UK ban, and materials, including encapsulation fragrances highly adopted in other household products.

The legislation also targets microplastics usage in products, including fertilizers, from which researchers believe they could be entering the human food chain. An ECHA spokesperson added that so far they have no clue that whether the measure would be applicable in the UK post Brexit or not.

Mr. Shambhu Nath Jha is a seasoned consultant and researcher. His research papers have been published in reputed websites and trade journals. His interests include philosophy and history.

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