What are Microbeads?
Microbeads, also called microplastics, small pellets of plastic, extensively used in personal care products such as shampoo, baby lotion and face cream and considered toxic to marine life.
Status of Microbeads
They are being banned internationally but Indian government has not banned them.
The United States has promulgated a ban, which will come into effect next July, on cosmetic products containing microbeads.
Over 299 million tonnes of plastic was produced worldwide in 2013 some of which made its way to oceans, costing approximately $13 billion per year in environmental damage to marine ecosystems, says a June 2015 report by the United Nations Environmental Programme that investigated the possible harm by microbeads/microplastics.
Arguments for ban
These plastics are too small to be caught by sewage treatment and water filtration techniques and they pass unchecked into rivers and seas and contaminated them. They take centuries to degrade and worse, are sometimes eaten by fish and other aquatic animals and could even make their way into human diets.
Petition pending in NGT
On a petition filed by Ashwani Kumar, an environment lawyer, requesting a ban on microbeads, this March, a National Green Tribunal Bench asked the Ministries of Health, Environment and Water Resources file their response.