BBC’s Blue Planet II has definitely generated awareness about the scale and dangers of plastic pollution. Innocent sea creatures are dying after getting entangled in or eating plastic.
Plastic breaks down into microplastics and nanoplastics which can penetrate organs & tissues. Every time we wash our clothing, the washing machine can leach upto 1000,000 microfibers into our waterways, rivers and oceans. Fish eat them and we eat the fish. One third of the fish sampled from the river Thames were contaminated with microfibers. Plastic is in the water we drink, the food we eat, the alcohol we drink and in the air we breathe.
But, no one is talking about the real danger which is “microplastic & microfibers are carriers for toxic chemicals”, some of which are endocrine disruptors and can result in genetic changes and cause cancer. Studies have shown hormonal/ reproductive/ genetic issues in marine life. The impact on humans is not known yet and WHO is looking at it now.
Here are a few links which will bring you up to speed on the current research about microplastics, microfibres and their link to chemicals, environment and health of marine and human life.
- Video: Microfibers From Our Clothes Are Poisoning the Ocean
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- BBC report on microfibres
- Audio: BBC Radio 4 – Microfibre Detectives (Personally recommended)
- Video: Sky Ocean Rescue – Plastics from our clothes is polluting oceans
- The Hidden Plastic In Our Dinner
- Orb Media Report: Microplastic in global bottled water
- House of Commons – Environmental impact of microplastics
- Micro- and Nano-plastics and Human Health
- Micro(nano)plastics: A threat to human health?
- Video: The Story of Microfibres – The Story of Stuff Project (See below)
- Plymouth University: Washing clothes releases thousands of microplastic particles into environment, study shows
- The Guardian – Stella McCartney calls for overhaul of ‘incredibly wasteful’ fashion industry
Also published on Medium.