The government is consulting the cosmetics industry about phasing out products that contain tiny pieces of plastic known as microbeads, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has revealed. The move is part of a broader push by the Department of Environmental Affairs to reduce plastic pollution and reflects growing concern about its effect on oceans. Microbeads are used in toiletries such as exfoliating face scrubs, shower gels and toothpastes. Most water treatment plants cannot filter out these tiny particles, which enter the sea and are consumed by fish and other marine life. The UK has already prohibited the manufacture of products containing microbeads, and a ban on their sale comes into effect there in July. The US banned microbeads in cosmetics in 2015. While microbeads represent only a fraction of the 8-million tonnes of plastic that enter the world’s oceans every year, environmental affairs director-general Nosipho Ngcaba said they wield a disproportionate amount of harm....

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