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The tiny plastic pollutants that end up on your dinner plate

Environmental experts say Hong Kong should follow the US and ban microbeads, so why is the government standing firm in its refusal to regulate the particles?

Images of pollution in Hong Kong have been dominated by scenes of plastic bags and bottles piling ashore the cities beaches. But there is another smaller, more innocuous culprit adding to the cities environmental problems: microbeads.

Microbeads are tiny plastic particles found in personal care products like facial scrubs and toothpastes that are making their way into the ocean through the cities sewage and drainage system. Once in the water, they can end up in the digestive tracts of marine animals that are ultimately consumed by humans.

Mussels, lobsters and oysters: microplastics pollution finds way into 170 different types of Hong Kong seafoods

The US last year signed legislation banning microbeads, which will come into effect in July 2017.

Last week research by Greenpeace showed that microplastic pollutants, including microbeads, had been found in around 170 types of commonly consumed seafood includfing mussels,oysters and lobsters.

A Baptist University survey commissioned by Greenpeace also showed 85% of 804 adults polled did not know that certain products contained microbeads, and two-thirds did not know that they were marine pollutants.

The research prompted calls from local environmental groups and experts to follow the US lead and legislate a ban on the sale of products containing microbeads.

Jessie Lau 16 July 2016 South China Morning Post

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