Sunday, December 14, 2014

NJ Bill to Ban Micro-beads Turned Back by Governor Christie

NJ Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill that would ban micro-beads. They are tiny polyethylene particles found in cosmetics and personal care products. Christie sent the bill back to the Assembly with a request to lower fines to a maximum of $500 per violation, and to remove language concerning offenses that are “continuing in nature” saying that the bill’s penalties would have unintended consequences on small businesses. He also recommended that it be made clear that the penalties “may be pursued only by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, and not private parties.”

Micro-beads cannot be filtered from household waste water by sewage treatment plants. Eventually, they end up in the ocean. As with the Pacific garbage patch (photo above), the North Atlantic trash vortex is made up of trash fragments ranging from a millimeter to the size of a pencil’s eraser. The size of the Atlantic trash vortex compares in size to the area of France. The fine trash, like micro-beads, poison fish and kill seabirds whose guts become clogged with the beads making them unable to eat and so they starve to death.

The five major ocean gyres.
The North Atlantic garbage patch is an area of man-made marine debris found floating within the North Atlantic Gyre, originally documented in 1972. The patch is estimated to be hundreds of kilometers across in size with a density of over 200,000 pieces of debris per square kilometer. The debris zone shifts by as much as 1,600 km (990 mi) north and south seasonally, and drifts even farther south during the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, according to the NOAA.

The NJ Legislature will now decide whether to make the changes, attempt to override Christie's veto, or let the bill die.

A new study estimates nearly 270,000 tons of plastic is floating in the world's oceans. That's enough to fill more than 38,500 garbage trucks if each truck carries 7 tons of plastic. The figure appears in a study published, Dec. 10, 2014, in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. Researchers say the plastic is broken up into more than 5 trillion pieces.

Microbeads pollution - a drop in the ocean for the beauty industry

Source: Christie vetoes N.J. ban on micro-beads feeding Atlantic Ocean garbage patch the size of France |

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