March 24th, 2015 - 11:05am
The following motion will be debated in the House on Tuesday, March 24th, 2015:
Ms. Leslie (Halifax) — That, in the opinion of the House, microbeads in consumer products entering the environment could have serious harmful effects, and therefore the government should take immediate measures to add microbeads to the list of toxic substances managed by the government under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
WHAT ARE MICROBEADS AND WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT THEM?
Microbeads were first patented for use in cleansers in 1972. However, it was not until the 1990s that manufacturers started using them to replace more natural materials, such as ground almonds, oatmeal and sea salt. Since alternatives do exist, the plastic microbeads are not considered an essential ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products.
Wastewater treatment plants are currently unable to filter out microbeads because of their small size and buoyancy. Upgrading treatment plants would be costly, and there are no known ways to effectively remove microplastics after they make their way into the environment. So the simplest action is to prevent them from entering the environment.
Microplastics can be consumed by a variety of marine life, including fish harvested for human consumption. They can cause asphyxiation or a blockage of organs in marine animals. Chemical pollutants tend to accumulate and persist on microplastics, which could transfer these chemicals to animals ingesting the plastic.
Microbeads have been found in high concentrations in Great Lakes waters, particularly downstream of major cities, and in the sediments of the St. Lawrence River.
(Photo source: Environmental Defence)
THE NDP IS TAKING ACTION ON MICROBEADS
New Democrats believe the best way to deal with pollution is to prevent it in the first place.
Canadian consumers and Canadian businesses want to protect the environment from the harmful effects of microbeads, but without regulations that cover all provinces and territories, it is difficult to do so.
Megan Leslie's motion calls on the government to take immediate action to designate microbead plastics as “toxic” under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (1999), which would then allow the federal government to regulate, phase out, or eliminate the use of microbeads in products used or produced in Canada.
We believe in protecting the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, and all our lakes and rivers from unnecessary pollution, and New Democrats will take action to prevent it.
YOU CAN TAKE ACTION TO BAN MICROBEADS
Write to your Member of Parliament and encourage them to support this motion to take action to ban microbeads.
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