GS Environment

Why is there a great concern about the 'microbeads' that are released into environment?

  1. The are considered harmful to marine ecosystems.
  2. They are considered to cause skin cancer in children.
  3. They are small enough to be absorbed by crop plants in irrigated fields.
  4. They are often found to be used as food adulterants.

Answer

Microbeads are small, solid, manufactured plastic particles that are less than 5 mm and don‘t degrade or dissolve in water. They may be added to a range of products, including rinse-off cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products. Microbeads are used as ingredients in these products for a variety of purposes. This includes as an abrasive or exfoliant, a bulking agent, for controlled timed release of active ingredients, and to prolong shelf life. They are also a relatively cheap ingredient.

Microbeads are not captured by most wastewater treatment systems. If they are washed down drains after use, they can end up in rivers, lakes and oceans. Once in the water, microbeads can have a damaging effect on marine life, the environment and human health.

This is due to their composition, ability to adsorb toxins and potential to transfer up the marine food chain. These tiny plastics persist in the environment as they are almost impossible to remove. The best way to reduce their impact is to prevent them from entering the environment.

The correct option is A.