Bringing the Ocean to Society
17 Nov 2017
Marine plastic, marine litter, micro beads, plastic soup... enough is enough!
If you are an ocean lover or a maritime professional, your news feed is highly likely to be dominated by those words. Here’s something that can change that.

As EurOcean can testify (hereherehere and here), the topic of marine litter has, sadly, never been so trendy. One could be justified in thinking that if we find a solution for marine litter we will solve all issues affecting the ocean. If only it were that easy...

Assuming that we are still very far from being able to eliminate plastic from our lives, the minimum we can do is to reduce our use of it and influence others to follow the example.

Today we will focus on tiny particles of plastic have been added to thousands of personal care cosmetic products sold around the world. These plastic microbeads, hardly visible to the naked eye, flow straight from the bathroom drain into the sewer system. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to filter them out microbeads and that is the main reason why they contribute to the plastic soup swirling around the world’s ocean.

Plastic microbeads are not biodegradable and once they enter the marine environment, they are impossible to remove. Marine life absorbs or eats plastic microbeads and they are passed along the food chain. Since humans are ultimately at the top of this food chain, it is likely that we are also ingesting them, absorbing microbeads from the sea food we eat.

What can we do about it? We can choose to buy less harmful products.

How can we do that? We can buy in agreement with the list of products that the Beat The Micro Bead initiative is developing. Supported by 92 NGOs from 38 countries, it has already managed to have 448 brands from 119 different manufacturers promised to remove plastic microbeads from their products.

And in order to make our lives easy, they have also come up with something that will look really cool in your smartphone: the Beat the Microbead App.

The North Sea Foundation and the Plastic Soup Foundation have developed an App to easily check if a product contains microbeads. You can now check if a product contains microbeads by just scanning the barcode with your smartphone camera. New countries are continuously added, so chances are that your country is included or will be included soon. Beat the Microbead is now a truly worldwide campaign!

Get the App!

Marine litter is also one of the hot topics currently being addressed by the H2020 MARINA project. Check the website and facebook to know where the next workshops will take place in Europe.