What are Microplastics?

by sudo May 1st, 2021

According to @natgeo there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. They report that 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.

One of the biggest contributors of microplastics in the ocean comes from synthetic textiles. The release of microplastics from synthetic clothing happens during the washing process. The washing machine causes stress on the fabric and it releases micoplastics. Choosing natural fibers like cotton, linen and hemp when you are buying new clothes can help to reduce the amount of microplastics with each wash.

The term microplastics refers to plastic particles that measure less than 5mm (0.2in). There are two basic kinds; primary microplastics and secondary microplastics.

Primary microplastics are plastic fragments or particles that are already 5mm in size or less before entering the environment.
• Microbeads in shower gel
• Plastic fibers in synthetic textiles

Secondary microplastics form from the breakdown of larger plastic items. This typically happens when larger plastics undergo weathering, through exposure to wind, waves or other environmental factors.
• Shedding of turf
• Tires on the road