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Congressman Mike Quigley

Representing the 5th District of Illinois

Quigley Joins Environmental Leaders to Celebrate Federal Plastic Microbead Ban & 2018 Resolution to Reduce Great Lakes Plastic Pollution

Jan 4, 2018
Press Release

CHICAGO – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as Vice Chair of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), joined local elected officials and leaders from Shedd Aquarium, Alliance for the Great Lakes, and Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) to celebrate the 2018 implementation of the new federal law banning the sale and manufacture of personal care products containing plastic microbeads, in addition to announcing a joint, New Year resolution to reduce plastic pollution. Plastic accounts for approximately 80 percent of the litter on the Great Lakes’ shorelines.

“From streams and rivers to the Great Lakes, we have a responsibility to ensure our bodies of water are clean and safe for drinking water, fishing, recreation, and more,” said Rep. Quigley. “As we celebrate the New Year with this federal victory, I look forward to pursuing additional ways we can further safeguard our waterways from plastic pollution and protect their health for future generations.”

Illinois was the first state to ban the use of plastic microbeads in personal care products in 2014, leading the way for a national movement that resulted in the landmark federal legislation. The issue has also received international attention, as a similar microbead ban went into effect on the first of the year in Canada.

“Illinois led the nation when it became the first state to ban microbeads, and I was proud to cosponsor the federal ban when it passed in 2015. As 2018 begins and the microbead ban kicks in nationwide, we recommit ourselves to fighting for clean water and protecting the Great Lakes. From supporting sweeping legislation to changing the way we shop or eat, each one of us can get involved in the fight against plastic pollution. But there can be no delay. The time to act is now,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

“There’s only so much our volunteers can do on land to keep plastic pollution out of the water,” said Joel Brammeier, Alliance for the Great Lakes president and CEO. “True solutions focus on the sources of plastic pollution and the microbead campaign is a great example of advocates, businesses and elected officials coming together to solve a problem.”

“About 22 million pounds of plastic flow into the Great Lakes each year,” said Jennifer Walling, executive director of IEC. “Banning microbeads was a critical step in fighting plastic pollution, as research released in 2013 showed the presence of microplastics in all five Great Lakes, as well as the many rivers and tributaries that feed them. The impact this law will have on the health of our waters and the people and animals who depend on them is significant; however, there is much more work that needs to be done.”

"Small actions can turn into big solutions for challenges facing our Great Lakes and oceans, and we believe the 35 million people in the Great Lakes who rely on this beautiful, massive resource will want to be part of that wave of change,” said Shedd Aquarium President and CEO, Dr. Bridget Coughlin. “We look forward to working together in these commitments.”

Rep. Quigley has been a fervent advocate for protecting our environment to ensure clean air and water. In 2017, he introduced legislation to reinstate an Obama-era ban on the sale of single-use water bottles in national park facilities. Rep. Quigley also co-sponsored the bipartisan Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which was passed by both the House and Senate unanimously and signed by President Obama banning the manufacture of plastic microbeads in personal care products and their sale at all to be phased in over the next few months.