As of this date, Albany County in New York has come to join several other states and counties who have banned the usage of microbeads. The measure passed unanimously with bipartisan support after local officials were tasked with three options: “do nothing, which… is not acceptable; spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money to upgrade water treatment facilities to filter out the tiny pollutants; or ban them.” Tom Ellis, an activist who helped pushed the bill, is hoping vendors will cease to use microbeads in their products; since this bill will require retailers to request no products containing microbeads, there is an assumption that big vendors will stop using microbeads instead of wasting resources on creating specialized product shipments by county and state. Those who violate this law will face fines reaching upwards to $5,000 a day.
This measure was particularly meaningful because it was the first ban to pass in the Hudson River watershed, a 13,390-square-mile drainage basin where surface water from rain, snow or ice converge to a single point at a lower elevation where waters join another water body. Groups such as the Hudson River Estuary Program have been working diligently to ensure the natural habitat and wildlife of the watershed are preserved, and this measure acts as a major victory in their favor. The Hudson River watershed is especially important because it is one of the most studied bodies of water; settlers founded it 400 years ago, and researchers have been drawing information from it regarding fish patterns for over 100 years. New species of fish are introduced to it every year; with the ban on microbeads in Albany County, it is now up to the other counties surrounding the Hudson River watershed to ensure that the wildlife continues to flourish.