The Microbeads (Prohibition) Act 2019 (Commencement) Order 2020 (S.I. 36 of 2020), which sets today, 20 February 2020, as date the Act comes into effect, was signed into law on 6 February by the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy T.D. The purpose of the Act is to reduce inputs of microplastic pollution into marine and fresh waters.
The Act prohibits the manufacture or placing on the market of cosmetics and personal care products that may be washed or rinsed off with water, as well as household and industrial cleaning products, and that contain plastic microbeads. Placing on the market is defined as to:
- offer or expose for sale;
- advertise or invite an offer to purchase;
- distribute free of charge,
- import or export;
- or supply for any of those purposes (whether or not for profit).
The Act also makes it an offence to dispose of any substance containing microbeads by pouring it down the drain or into marine or freshwater environments.
The Act makes the Environmental Protection Agency the responsible authority for its implementation and enforcement, with assistance from the Gardaí or Customs and Excise Officers of the Revenue Commissioners as required.
The Act can be viewed at http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2019/act/52/enacted/en/html.