Ireland has officially banned the sale, manufacture, import and export of products containing microbeads. Microplastics are tiny non-biodegradable solid plastic particles. These particles enter the marine environment in a variety of forms including fibres shed from clothes, lost raw material pellets or microbeads used in cosmetics, cleansing products and detergents.
The Microbeads (Prohibition) Act 2019, which was signed into law on 6 February 2020 by Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy T.D., comes into effect today.
Plastic microbeads are mostly used in soaps, shower gels and facial scrubs to exfoliate skin, although they also can be found in toothpaste and abrasive cleaners.
The Act Prohibits:
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. Household and industrial cleaning products that contain plastic microbeads are also included.
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.
A person convicted of an offence under the Act could receive a fine and/or a prison sentence of up to six months. Conviction on indictment may mean a fine of up to €3,000,000 and/ or a prison sentence of up to five years.
The Environmental Protection Agency is assigned as the responsible for implementation with support from Customs Officials and the Gardaí.
Ireland will continue to work with the Commission and other EU Member States to develop further robust regulatory measures to address microplastic pollution.
In October the EU gave Ireland the greenlight to outlaw plastic microbeads but has yet to introduce legislation for an EU-wide ban. The UK banned the manufacture and sale of microbeads back in 2018, following the US’s ban back in 2015.
Microbeads represent only a fraction of the microplastics in our oceans
While plastic microbeads represent only a fraction of the microplastics in our oceans, it has still been estimated that many billions are being washed into the world’s rivers, lakes and seas each year. Once in our seas and rivers they can last for centuries without breaking down. Due to their shape and size, they can be confused for food by fish and other aquatic creatures and they cannot be removed once they are in the marine environment.
Tiny plastic particles are sold in thousands of personal care products globally. With wastewater treatment plants not designed to filter them out they can flow down the drain, into the sea and into the marine food chain. Microbeads are not biodegradable and once they enter the marine environment, they are impossible to remove. Each year, an estimated 8 million metric tonnes of plastics enter the ocean, and it’s estimated that currently, 150 million metric tonnes circulate in our marine environments.
Our company blog has been shortlisted in The Blog Awards Ireland 2015 in two categories – Best Lifestyle Blog and Best Blog Post. We’re delighted to make it to the Company Shortlist. It is great to see our company listed along with some incredible Irish companies. The Blog Awards Ireland recognise the passion and enthusiasm that blogging and bloggers share with their readers. This year the Blog Awards Ireland have introduced a public vote that accounts for 30% of the overall vote.
The Public vote has opened and we would appreciate it if you would consider voting for Eco Evolution in one or both categories. It’s simple, just click on the images below and click on Eco Evolution and then click DONE. We are the only green energy company shortlisted and would love your help to help spread the word about the benefits of green energy and living a sustainable lifestyle.
If you would like to vote for Eco Evolution in one or both categories please click the images below. Thank you in advance 🙂
The University of Dundee’s satellite station captured this image of how the heavy snow affected Ireland and the Uk. The picture, which was received at 11.45 p.m. on Thursday from Nasa satellite Terra, shows the extent of the snow and ice in South East Ireland and all along the East coast.
Project: Proposed leisure centre and swimming pool.
To whom it may concern,
I wish to confirm that at planning and design stages of the above project I requested Frank and Mary Gethings of Eco Evolution to design the most environmentally friendly and energy solution for the running of the proposed leisure centre. I asked that all of the essential heating, water heating and air conditioning services be designed with the most environmentally friendly systems.
Within a couple of days of talking with Mary, Frank visited my offices and educated me on the best approach. Frank and Mary have a very friendly and approachable manner which makes them very easy to deal with.
I agreed to run with his excellent advice and in a matter of days Frank had a full eco-friendly solution for what is by no means a simple building to service. The solution included some very innovative thinking with regard to the heating of the pool, an array of solar panels and the use of a heat pump system. My client was equally impressd with the energy solutions and I submitted all of Eco Evolutions details as part of the planning application.
Frank and Mary form an excellent team and provide excellent advice and most importantly provide the information efficiently and on time. The products which they can provide are without doubt the best on the market and it is clear that a lot of time and effort is spent by the company in researching and ensuring they have the best products at their disposal.
I have no doubt that given the notable shifts in attitude towards the use of these products, coupled with the fact they are now reasonably priced, that Eco Evolution is a company that will go from strength to strength in the coming years.
I would strongly recommend them for all your ‘eco’ needs.
Proposals to reintroduce domestic water charges, with new water meters being installed in every home in the State, are to be brought to Government in about two weeks.
The proposals – which were approved in principle as part of the Budget – will be brought forward by Minister for the Environment John Gormley.
However the Minister admitted today it is unlikely that water metering will be in place by June 2012 – which means domestic water charges will not be reintroduced before the next general election.
Mr Gormley acknowledged taht the insisting the charges would be politically unpopular but insisted they were necessary. “I think everybody who understands the environment … they know that this is an absolute necessity,” he said. “You just can’t go putting your head in the sand on these issues any longer. Water is a precious resource.
“All the evidence shows that when you actually charge for water people conserve it, people use it wisely.”
He would not be drawn on how much each of Ireland’s 1.1 million households would be charged but said a speculated figure of €400 per household was wide of the mark. He pointed to other EU countries as a possible indicator.
Mr Gormley revealed his plans as part of his announcement of a “reprioritising” of the €1.8 billion Water Services Investment Programme for the next three years.
The reprioritised programme will now give priority to projects which target environmental compliance issues, in a bid to avoid the imposition of fines by the European Commission, and achieve sustainable supplies.
The Minister stressed Ireland had not yet been fined by the EU for its confirmed breaches of the Water Framework Directive, a feature he said was as a result of the Government’s openness to take whatever remedial steps were necessary.
The programme will also target repairs to the water networks to eliminate waste and protect water basins. It is estimated that “lost” water ranges from 16 per cent to 58 per cent of supplies across the State. The programme provides €320 million over the three year period for remedial works.
A much greater emphasis on water conservation through the introduction of water metering and inducements for householders to cut down on usage, also forms a significant part of the new programme.
Mr Gormley told a press conference today he did not believe it made sense, from an economic or environmental perspective, “to invest in expanding water treatment capacity if there is a significant loss of treated water in damaged or aging networks”.
Mr Gormley said in January the Government intends to raise as much as €1 billion per annum from water metering charges when they are introduced.
Labour today welcomed the investment programme but said it was overdue. The party’s environment spokeswoman Joanna Tuffy said the Government’s approach to investment in water needs to change. “There needs to be a national water strategy rather than the piecemeal approach of the past,” she said.
“The priority of State investment has to reduce the amount of public treated water that is lost through leaks. The other priority has to be bringing waste water treatment facilities up to standard to ensure safe drinking water.
“It raises the question as to how, when the Government was spending up to €500 million per year on water infrastructure projects, our distribution was allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair,” Ms Tuffy said.
Hundreds of thousands of travellers face a fourth day of disruption today as the volcanic ash plume continues to drift south and east of Iceland.
The cloud of volcanic ash that has covered much of Northern Europe still is not clearing and it remains unsafe for planes to take to the skies.
The International Civil Aviation Authority says the disruption to air travel is greater than the shutdown of airspace following the 11 September attacks in the US.
The Irish Aviation Authority has extended the closure of Irish airspace to commercial traffic until 1pm tomorrow.
The IAA said: ‘No commercial passenger flights, including North American traffic, will operate from any Irish airport during this period.
‘Met experts are predicting that the prevailing weather conditions will continue in the coming days. Ongoing restrictions are therefore likely.’
The IAA said it has based its decision on the latest reports from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London.
Maurice Mullen of the Department of Transport has said restrictions on air travel are likely to remain for most of this week.
Mr Mullen was speaking after this morning’s meeting of the Government’s task force on emergency planning.
He said Irish embassies and consulates are reporting increased inquiries from Irish citizens stranded overseas, some concerning travel and some concerning financial issues.
He said the Department of Foreign Affairs are now dealing with a number of hardship cases.
Aer Lingus cancels Monday flights
Aer Lingus has confirmed that all UK, European and US flights scheduled to depart tomorrow have been cancelled. This includes Aer Lingus regional flights.
Ryanair was to make a further announcement on flights tomorrow and Tuesday at about 3pm today.
All major airports across northern and central Europe were closed overnight and flight restrictions in Britain have been extended until 7am tomorrow morning.
There has been a surge in demand for bus, rail and ferry services as people try to make it home from holidays.
Meanwhile, the cost to the air travel industry is now expected to rise, as around 17,000 flights were cancelled yesterday and thousands of passengers were left stranded.
Dutch airline KLM has said a test flight it carried out yesterday had revealed no engine damage or other problems from volcanic ash and it would run a further nine test flights.
A spokesman said: ‘We have not found anything unusual and no irregularities, which indicates the atmosphere is clean and safe to fly.’
The European Commission is to set up a group to assess the economic impact of the crisis and said any steps taken across the EU needed to be properly coordinated.
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said: ‘The volcanic ash cloud has created an unprecedented situation.
‘I have asked (EU Transport Commissioner Siim) Kallas to coordinate the Commission’s response and fully assess the impact of the situation created by the volcanic ash cloud on the economy, and the air travel industry in particular.
‘It is important that all measures to be considered are coordinated at the European level.’
Thousands of passengers at Irish, UK and European airports have been grounded after the eruption of a volcano in Iceland sent a cloud of ash into airspace across northern Europe, halting flights.
UK aviation authorities have closed a number of airports in Scotland and northern England, and both airports in Belfast have also been closed. The ash cloud is forecast to spread southwards towards London during today, causing major disruption.
Flights in Norway and other parts of northern Europe have also been disrupted.
Aer Lingus has issued a statement saying there will be major disruption to its flights from Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Belfast, London Gatwick today.
Ryanair has cancelled all flights to and from the UK, a statement on their website reads: “Ryanair confirms that no further Ryanair flights will operate to or from the UK today (Thursday 15th April ’10) from 09:00.”
British Airways has cancelled all internal UK flights for the whole of today.
The advice to anyone expecting to travel by air today is to check with their airline to see if they are affected.
Forecasters believe the ash could take a number of days to disperse.
Volcanic ash, which consists of the pulverised rock and glass created by the eruptions, can jam aircraft machinery if a plane flies through the plume, shutting down the engines.
Ash can also be can be sucked into the cabin itself, contaminating the passengers’ environment as well as damaging the plane’s electronic systems.
A spokeswoman for easyJet, which has cancelled dozens of flights at Luton and Scottish airports, said: “Following the eruption of a volcano in Iceland yesterday, an ash plume has entered UK and Scandinavian airspace overnight.
“As a result NATS have closed parts of UK airspace and this is causing significant disruption to all airlines due to operate flights to and from the UK today.
“EasyJet passengers are advised to check the website before they leave for the airport for any disruption information.”
Heathrow’s second biggest scheduled airline, bmi, has cancelled all flights between London and Scotland until later today. It said: “We recommend that customers whose journey is not essential book for an alternate date. Customers who have booked and are still intending to travel should consult the flight status page for the latest information.”
Matt Dobson, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: “The concern is that as well as the eruption, the jet stream passing through Iceland is passing in a south easterly direction, which will bring ash to the north of Scotland and Denmark and Norway. But it is impossible to say how much ash will come down.
“It could be a threat in these areas from now until tomorrow or Friday.”
A spokesman from Nats said: “The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre has issued a forecast that the ash cloud from the volcanic eruption in Iceland will track over Europe tonight.
“NATS is working with Eurocontrol and our colleagues in Europe’s other air navigation service providers to take the appropriate action to ensure safety in accordance with international aviation policy.”
Weather forecasters said the ash plume could drift over British airspace during the night, causing significant disruption to services.
The movement of the plume, which has been drifting eastwards, is being monitored by both the Met Office and NATS, the air traffic control service.
There have been a number of incidents where aircraft have reported damage from ash, including one involving a British Airways Boeing 747 in June 1982.
The aircraft ran into difficulties after the eruption of a volcano at Galunggung, Indonesia. Ash jammed all four engines briefly, and the aircraft plummeted 24,000 feet before they could be restarted.
Because of the threat to aviation, a global early warning system, known as the International Airways Volcano Watch, has been established. Iceland is considered as particularly vulnerable to volcanic disruption.
Authorities there yesterday evacuated 800 residents from around the Eyjafjallajokull glacier as water gushed down the mountainside and rivers rose by up to 10 feet (3 meters).
The Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted for the first time in 200 years on March 20, in a dramatic display that sent fountains of lava spewing into the air.
The first eruption did not trigger any major flooding, as was initially feared, because the active vents were in a mainly ice-free part of the volcano.
But Tuesday’s eruption came from a different vent beneath a 650-ft (200m) thick block of ice, unleashing a torrent of glacial meltwater.
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland Showcases Latest Innovative Sustainable Solutions at Energy Show
Irish business must maximise the potential of sustainable energy solutions if they are to embrace the opportunities from a low-carbon economy. This is the message from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) at the launch of its 2010 Energy Show.
The Energy Show 2010, which takes place on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th April in the RDS, Dublin will play host to almost 200 exhibitors and is expected to attract up to 5,000 visitors. The Show highlights the diversity of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions in Ireland and will showcase leading suppliers of sustainable energy products and services.
Speaking at the launch of the Show, Mr. Eamon Ryan T.D., Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, said: “Ireland is well-placed to position itself as a world leader in sustainable energy. Our expertise in knowledge based services is well established and there is now a real opportunity for business to harness the innovation potential of our transition to a low-carbon economy. Ireland needs to exploit and leverage these business opportunities as we move towards a truly sustainable energy future.”
Some of the solutions on display at the Show will include innovative devices such as a phone application to assist businesses with energy audits, sustainable building products, model ocean technology equipment and the latest electric vehicles available on the Irish market.
In addition to the exhibition, seminars at the Show, led by industry experts, will focus on areas such as maximising renewable energy in buildings, the role of electric vehicles in contributing to a low-carbon Ireland and intelligent building energy control systems. Delegates will hear how sustainability can be achieved even during a downturn from adopting energy efficient practices and technologies to installing renewable energy systems.
SEAI’s Chief Operations Officer, Brian Motherway, noted: “The Energy Show has grown from strength to strength in the 15 years since we first hosted this event. Companies are looking to the opportunities presented by sustainable energy solutions and how they can be translated into tangible cost savings for business. Our impressive seminar programme will demonstrate best practice in sustainable solutions for business and encourage knowledge sharing amongst companies of the latest innovative technologies.”
The show will run at the RDS in Dublin on Wednesday, April 14th from 9:30am to 7pm and on Thursday, April 15th from 9am to 5pm. Seminar places must be pre-booked as a limited number of spaces are available. For further details on SEAI’s Energy Show 2010 visit www.seai.ie/energyshow
THE COUNTRY’S first on-street electric charging points for electric vehicles (EVs) will become operational later this month.
The ESB confirmed this weekend that four kerbside charging points will be available in Dublin from next week, ahead of a nationwide programme that will see 1,500 installed throughout the country within two-and-a-half years.
The four points are located at parking spaces in Dublin city centre: two in Fitzwilliam Street (outside ESB headquarters), one on Molesworth Street and the other on Adelaide Road.
Known as “juicepoints”, the charging stations are tall, narrow columns.
In a system not dissimilar to the dublinbike scheme, users will be required to register and will then be given a personalised electric fob. Recharging an EV at the point could take one to two hours.
Paul Mulvaney, managing director of ESB e-cars, said that this is the first phase of an ambitious project that will see EVs and charging points becoming commonplace during 2011 and 2012.
The semi-State utility company already has agreements with the Renault-Nissan partnership for electric vehicles and is in advanced discussions with other major manufactures including Peugeot-Citroen and Mitsubishi.
“We envisage having 1,500 charging points installed. Our target is to have 2,000 EVs in Ireland by the end of 2011.
“We have really been pushing Ireland as a test bed and have done deals with manufacturers,” said Mr Mulvaney.
“We are a little different from most of Europe in that they are basing their tests in clusters and cities, while we are doing it across the whole country.”
The ESB have not yet settled on a recharging price but Mr Mulvaney said it will be markedly cheaper than petrol.
He said that there will three different types of charging point. The first will be at home where it is estimated that up to 90 per cent of the recharging will be done, using cheap overnight electricity.
A special seven-pin all-weather socket will need to be installed outside homes. The cost of recharging will be circa €2.50 which is about six times cheaper than petrol or diesel.
The second will be the kerbside juicepoint, which will cost more, but still less than petrol. The third will be a high-speed DC charger that will recharge batteries in 20-25 minutes.