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The UK government is proposing a ban on the use of microbeads. Watch Simon Boxall explain more about these tiny particles.

In this video, Dr Simon Boxall (a Principal Teaching Fellow at the University of Southampton) explains why microbeads, tiny manufactured pieces of plastic added to cleaning products, toothpaste, cosmetics and more, are potentially harmful to the ocean environment and its equally tiny but vital inhabitants.

Microbeads are typically less than 5 millimetres in diameter and therefore can easily pass through water filtration systems once washed down a plughole. This infographic gives one perspective on the issue of microbead impact on the oceans.

Simon also conducts a simple sampling experiment from the University of Southampton’s R.V. Callista to illustrate how commonplace microbeads already are in the marine environment.

The University of Southampton is ideally suited to researching the impact of microbeads, with an interdisciplinary team of researchers (marine biologists, chemists, ecologists, physical oceanographers) based in an industrial port coastal city.

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Exploring Our Ocean

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