Plastic Pollution – How Microfibers Are Contaminating Oceans & The Food Chain
If anyone grew up watching The Simpsons, they’ll know the famous catch phrase of Bart Simpson “eat my shorts”. I never thought that phrase would be so relevant to humanity, until the rising issue of ‘microfibers’ from clothing has been splashed all over the media from environmental reports.
To break it down (no pun intended) – Microfibers are tiny synthetic fibers from synthetic apparel (Polyester, Nylon, Spandex, Rayon or Acrylic) that are less than 5mm in length. These tiny fibers shed from clothing when they are washed and manage to filter out into rivers and oceans.
There have been various scientific studies world wide into the environmental effects of plastic in the ocean on marine life, with microfibers falling into the category of microplastics (small pieces of plastics that filter into the oceans and aquatic life). The conclusions from these studies are pretty shocking, showing that a huge number of microfibers are in oceans and rivers.
One study by Mark Browne published in 2011 by Environmental Science & Technology, found that marine life and habitats in coastlines around the world were highly contaminated with microfibers. It’s suggested that this may be derived from sewage as a consequence of washing clothes.
Image source: Salt Gypsy