Democracy, by its very nature is often a slow beast. Arguement, counter-arguement, compromise and (you would hope, eventually) agreement. Which is why the passage of the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 in the USA has been slightly surprising. Introduced in March 2015, it was made law before Christmas! This is a tremendous victory for the all those who care about the environment we live in. Microbeads are tiny plastic particles that are used in cosmetic products as an exfoliant. Needless to say, billions of these particles pollute our waters everyday. The scientific literature is begining to balloon with studies documenting the impacts of these microbeads. From interacting with food-chains to releasing toxins in warm-blooded animals; microbeads are not one of our better inovations. Thankfully many companies have agreed to end the use of these plastics and consumers can choose not to buy products that contain them. However, it will take a considerable clean-up operation to remove the amount of plastic already moving through the Earth system.
More on microbeads: http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/en/
The words “gridlock” and “Congress” have become predictable neighbors in many a sentence about the federal government. But every once in a long while, something like this happens: A bill to protect the environment was introduced in the House in March. In early December, the House passed the bill. A week later, the Senate passed it as well, without changing a word and by unanimous consent, just before Congress left town on Friday. That is the strangely charmed life of the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which sailed through Congress in an age when most legislation plods. The new law bans tiny beads of plastic that have been commonly added as abrasives to beauty and health products like exfoliating facial scrubs and toothpaste.