Is there one darned thing we can do, use or purchase that doesn’t kill fish, destroy the planet and otherwise put the whole of humanity in dire ecological straits? Now it seems that deterring blackheads and refining pores is polluting Florida’s waterways and potentially harming fish and other wildlife, According to a News 13 (Brighthouse) report published Thursday. So much so that there is a new federal law banning the cosmetic industry from using such products.
Turns out the tiny plastic microbeads found in many common hygiene products have teamed up with recent deluges of rainwater in discharging toxic waste products into waterways, adding to the endless stream of pollutants that are destroying mother Earth beneath our callous, unsuspecting feet. Take the city of Cocoa Beach. It spent 25 days discharging excess water into the Banana River after heavy rains last year. Hey, potty water has to go somewhere, right?
Problem is, as explained by Jack Shelton, the director of Cocoa Beach Water Reclamation Department, we’ve managed to overwhelm the region’s splitter box, which is supposed to purify all that excess water so it doesn’t damage the environment. “We only do it (dump potty water into waterways) when we absolutely have to,” said Jack Shelton, the Director of Cocoa Beach Water Reclamation Department. “Everything from the city, Patrick Air Force Base and Port Canaveral go into this splitter box,” Shelton admitted.
Apparently, at the bottom of said splitter box is a layer of sand intended to filter out any “leftovers” too small for the sewerage system’s other layers of filtration to catch. It seems the leftovers are, in part, microbeads, the same potentially sinister micro-scrubbers that cleanse your pores and leave your skin soft and noticeably smoother. Despite suspicions that your personal skin care products are slowly destroying the Earth’s delicate environmental balance, Shelton is not sure they are the problem, but they could be. Regarding the splitter box filter, the reclamation expert said, “I don’t think it’s (sand is) fine enough to filter out microbeads.”
The reclaimed water is not used as drinking water however it is reused for irrigation and conceivably could wind up in the Banana River again next time there is a heavy rain storm.“There is a concern,” Shelton said. “There’s really nothing that has been approved that will remove these microbeads. They’re so fine and the size of a pin head.”
However, a federal bill was passed in time for the new year by Congress and signed by the president putting a ban on such plastic microbeads found in hygiene products; problem solved. However since the law does not go in effect until July 2017, Shelton’s concern is that some companies will continue adding the exfoliant because they can do so, lawfully.
Critics say Americans have used these skin products for decades without complaint and the federal government will enforce compliance banning plastic microbeads in hygiene products when the law goes into affect in 2017. So who are local bureaucrats and local water reclamation managers like Shelton to say national companies should comply to his personal timetable over that of the U.S. Congress and the President of the United States. While mega-rich companies can afford to switch formulas overnight, the reality is that smaller companies and upstarts cannot afford to change the way they do business overnight at the whim of politicians and bureaucrats. Stupid costs jobs in the private sector.
“Alleviating the problem — the companies need to stop putting it in,” Shelton said. “Bottom line. And there are alternatives: grinding up nutshells and some organic stuff they could put instead to replace the microbeads.”
Sheldon needs to calm down and remember that he is not charged with running a business; he is a government worker who doesn’t have to worry about profit margins, business plans or the costs of doing business. There are people far above his pay grade who have decided this issue and made it law. If Sheldon wants to make a small difference in his Florida community, he should try to do a little more work reclaiming and a lot less complaining at the Cocoa Beach Water Reclamation Department.