Tonawanda News

Columns

May 7, 2014

CONFER: Microbeads are a danger to the environment

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — A 2012 study conducted by SUNY Fredonia and the 5 Gyres Institute found that microbeads account for half of the plastic found floating on Lake Erie’s surface.

Let’s put that into perspective: Think about how many times you’ve walked the shore of Lake Erie or Lake Ontario and encountered an unsavory mess onshore and offshore that might include packaging, beverage containers, detergent bottles and tampon applicators. For everything that you do see, there’s just as much plastic, by weight, that you can’t see floating on the surface and stuck amongst the grains of sand on the beach.

Beyond filling the environment with things that don’t belong, microbeads’ effects on the food chain are scary. They pick up contaminants such as PCBs and then are ingested by small fish and invertebrates, which are then eaten by larger fish, which are in turn eaten by birds, wild mammals and man. Everything — and everyone — at the top of the chain picks up the accumulated poisons.

There was a well-publicized push by New York State to ban microbeads earlier this year. Even the Attorney General contributed to the cause, helping to develop the Microbead-Free Waters Act that would prohibit the production, manufacture, distribution and sale in New York of any beauty product, cosmetic or other personal care product containing plastic particles less than 5 millimeters in size.

Despite much fanfare at the bill’s launch, there’s been little movement since. The Assembly bill (8744) introduced by Robert Sweeney, chair of the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee, has been referred to committees and codes and has not yet even garnered a sponsor in the Senate.

It’s highly unlikely that a senator will draft that house’s version this year (there’s just over a month left in the session) or next. So, this much-needed piece of legislation will likely go down the drain, just like the beads they hope to regulate.

Text Only
Columns
  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Canal Fest, here we come This column should be titled "Roads and Streets." First of all, Meadow Drive is finally open. Although it took very long to be completed, it's beautiful. Riding by the other day brought into focus how many people will use this to cut across town. One less thing for residents to complain about.

    July 12, 2014