Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Microplastics are the small pieces of plastics less than 5mm in length and these small particles pollute the environment. Microplastics are present in a variety of materials like cosmetics, synthetic clothes, plastic bags, water bottles, etc. Microplastics are one of the biggest problems in the environment. Microplastics enter our environment and also in our food chain but microplastics are not limited to industries or clothing, cosmetics, etc. However, they contribute to major microplastics.

Microplastics are classified into primary microplastics and secondary microplastics. Primary microplastics are the microplastics that are in the form of in microfibers, microbeads or pellets. The main source of these types of plastic is cosmetic and clothing industries. Secondary microplastics are the microplastics created by the breakdown of a plastic piece. When the plastic is degraded it is broken down into smaller pieces and in this process, it releases harmful chemicals used to harden them and these toxic chemicals can easily come into the food and water we consume.

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Main sources of microplastics:

1. Cosmetic Industries: The waste from cosmetic industries is in the form of microbeads and these are often found in face washes, handwashes, and other beauty products. And they end up in sewage maybe later in oceans.

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2. Clothing: Each clothing fabric or synthetic fabric can shed more than 1900 fibers of microplastics and that's why dumping of these clothes or wearing directly affects us.

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3. Wear and tear Car and truck tires: Wear and tear of tires can contribute much in this race. In Denmark, the emission of microplastics is between 5500 to 14000 tonnes each year due to this.

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4. Sewage treatment methods: Microplastics are detected in sewage treatment plants and the accuracy of eliminating the microplastics is 99.9%. That 0.1% of microplastic is in the filtered water. And that removed microplastic might end up in the ocean.

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5. Fishing industries: Fishing gears and nets are the main sources of plastic wastes by fishing industries. Many nets and gears have been found in the stomach of fishes.

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6. Water bottles: 93% of the bottled water is contaminated with 11 brands of microplastics. Thus in per liter of bottled water, there are average 325plastic particles.

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By the things we have seen this far, you have probably got the idea why microplastics are such harmful things. Microplastics bring toxicity amongst aquatic organisms and other species including humans. Humans can also absorb microplastics. Fish and other aquatic animals eat them and they die. They eat the plastic and it can't be digested and so there is no space for actual food and they die.

Plastics never completely disappear, it is broken into very small pieces and this is a bitter truth. So more plastics we produce, we will drown in it.