Microplastic pollution is a new phenomenon in Bangladesh therefore consumers are not so aware of the dangerous impact of microplastics. Another name of microplastic is microbeads which are tiny plastic particles fewer than five millimeters in their largest dimension. And commercially available in particle sizes from microbeads to most polyethylene, polypropylene, terephthalate, polymethyl, polylactic acid. Basically, we start our day by using microbeads, at the end of the day we having various foods in our dinner which is the jumble of microbeads. But really amazing that, we don’t know actually what we ate! There are approximately 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans. 92 per cent of which are microplastics. And one tube of facial scrub can contain more than 300,000 plastic microbeads. In our maximum personal care product also consists of microbeads. According to a research of the Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University Bangladesh showed that- face wash, scrub, body wash, toothpaste, nail polish, detergent and cream contain microbeads. Out of 104 products, almost 50 per cent contain microbeads. Among all the products face wash is the major source of microbeads pollution in Bangladesh which is contributing to about 43 per cent of the total pollution, because this product is used by both males and females. Detergent is another large source of microbeads pollution. About 50 per cent of household work use microbeads containing detergents which are discharged to the water body in a huge amount. Various make-up products like lip gloss, nail polish, sunscreen powder and cream also contain these harmful microbeads.
Microbeads not only invaded our personal care products it also created an imbalance situation in the marine ecosystem. Tiny pieces of plastic used in personal care products go down the drain and into our lakes, rivers and oceans by the billions every day. According to Plastic Solution Fund (PSF), their study found that three major cities of Bangladesh like Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet city dwellers release a huge quantity of microbeads every month. Around 6628.46 billion microbeads from Dhaka, 1087.18 billion microbeads from Chittagong and 212.38 billion microbeads from Sylhet city are dumped into the water bodies and wetland per month. The research also shows that fish of Dhaka city were found with the highest microbeads content.
Microbeads also impact our environment. It has been shown to absorb chemical pollutants from their surroundings as part of their role in the movement of these pollutants through the food chain. It is also an imbalance in our ecosystem.
Microbeads create various dangerous diseases in the human body. Fish consumes microbeads and then are consumed by humans. The huge microbeads content in the human body will highly cost the environment and human health by causing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity in the human body.
Recently there are so many campaigns starting around the whole world to ban microbeads containing products. In 2015 the United States enacted federal legislation to ban microbeads. Currently, other countries including Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and many others are considering microbeads ban legislation as well. Bangladesh also bans many products but a large number of company sale microbeads containing products in an illegal way. People are affected by various diseases due to using these products.
It’s not easy work to ban microbeads containing products within a few days or few months. But mass public awareness is also needed and they should immediately ban microbeads containing products, stop production sale and import of microbeads containing products and legislation to ban the use of microplastic in Bangladesh. The researcher said women are at greater risk from using microbeads products because they use a huge amount of microbeads containing products daily. If they don’t stop using microbeads products they may suffer from ovarian and skin cancer and also be affected by perilous diseases easily destroying life.
Now, we hope that the concerned people will come forward and raise their voice to ban microbeads. The government should take strong steps immediately to stop import and sale of microbeads containing products and foods. With rising awareness about the dangerous impact of microbeads containing products on life and health, in future Bangladesh can be microplastic pollution free.