Japan passes bill to lower microplastics

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Japan passes bill to lower microplastics
In a bid to actively tackle ocean pollution, The Upper House in Japan has passed a bill to reduce microparticles.

The bill focuses on the actions of manufacturers and companies to stop using microproducts in their goods, particularly personal care companies producing items such as skin care items, face washes and toothpaste. It calls for manufacturers to lower plastic particle emissions.

A first in legislation

Approved by Japan’s parliament on Friday 15th June, The Environment Ministry explains that this focus on microplastics is thought to represent the first piece of legislation in the country to adopt measures that strive to lower microplastics in the environment, Global Cosmetics News reveals​. 

The Japan Cosmetic Industry Association first expressed its calls for the nation's businesses to reduce its microplastic use in 2016.

Japan's new microplastic law aims to enable local governments to up the level of education and awareness to its residents on issues such as plastic reduction and recycling, the Jakarta Post revealed​.

Lack of sanctions

While this legislation is a positive step and revises the existing legislation that seeks to remove and dispose of marine debris, it does not impose any sanctions for those that do not comply.

Despite the bill receiving unanimous approval in Japan’s Upper House, its lack of sanctions for enforcement highlights questions over its effectiveness and likelihood of compliance.

Education and awareness

Microplastics, including microbeads, are tiny plastic particles that commonly appear in a variety of cosmetics items including washes, creams and pastes. Education has been on the up in APAC, with an Indian study​ recently communicating their high frequency in cosmetics goods and awareness relating to their detrimental and unsafe nature. The negative environmental impact of microplastics has been gaining traction in recent years. In 2017, researchers found 40% of fish caught had microplastics in their digestive systems, following a survey conducted across Japan.

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