Published on July 31st, 2015 | by GrowWNYAdmin


Erie County sets the standard in pollution control for the Great Lakes

Erie County Legislature Passes Local Law Banning Plastic Microbead Proposed by Legislator’s Burke and Mills

 ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today the Erie County Legislature passed the Local Law to ban plastic Microbeads, a bipartisan effort championed by Legislator Patrick Burke (7th District) and cosponsored by Chairman John J. Mills (11th District.) The law bans the sale of any cosmetics or personal care products that contain intentionally added plastic particles measuring five millimeters or less. These particles, too small to be caught by water filtration systems, reenter our water ways and have disastrous effects on their ecosystems. These microplastic particles now account for 90% of the new pollutants found in Lake Erie

“We’ve just taken a significant step towards protecting Lake Erie for generations to come. Western New York’s abundance of fresh water gives us a unique position in a world that often has water shortages and usage quotas” Legislator Patrick Burke (7th District) said. “We are building a region that can thrive through tourism, agriculture, and transportation of goods all based on our access to a vibrant and clean Lake Erie.”

“We have seen many companies already voluntarily provide organic alternatives to plastic microbeads, and I appreciate their willingness and understanding to help address the issue. But the hope for this law is to further expand protection of our local waterways and fresh water resources from contamination” said Chairman John Mills (11th District). “I’d like to thank Legislator Burke for his efforts and my colleagues in the legislature for their support.”

“As New Yorkers, we have a responsibility to respect and protect our state’s beautiful, vast waters,” New York State Attorney General Schneiderman said. “I commend the Erie County Legislature for banning the sale of products containing microbeads.”

“Plastic microbeads may be tiny, but they are adding up to a huge problem for Lake Erie,” said Brian Smith, Associate Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE). “A clean face doesn’t have to mean polluted water—it’s time to ban the microbead.  Banning microbeads in Erie County will not only protect our local waters, but also drive the state and nation to protect all our waters. CCE commends Legislator Burke for his leadership on this critical issue.”

As a central focus of Buffalo’s social and economic future, pollution control will continue to be a top priority for Erie County. The local law to ban microbeads will play a crucial role in protecting Lake Erie’s ecosystem as well as the health of Western New Yorker’s by preventing the increase of environmentally pervasive toxic pollutants in one of our most precious natural resources.

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