MICROPLASTICS: Invisible but everywhere
With the prevalence of single-use items, from grocery bags, bottled waters, and household materials, our use of plastic seems to be unavoidable. But while we consider plastics as an inevitable part of our everyday consumption, we might be doing more than just using them.
As we utilize plastic-made items, its ubiquitous pieces, known as microplastics, fragment over time and settle almost everywhere—from the waters of Antarctica and household dust, to the guts of whales and even in the young tummies of infants.
When plastic degrades, it doesn't easily disappear. The microscopic pieces of plastic, along with broken pieces of synthetic fabric fibers, disintegrate into smaller pieces and persists for years. And since more researchers are spreading out to look for them, perhaps their presence is far greater than what we previously thought.WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
According to recent studies, researchers found out that microplastics can drift with the air currents, fall from the sky with the rain, or settle out of the air along with the frosty flakes.
In April last year, a team of researchers from France and Scotland revealed that they found microplastics in the Pyrenees.
Each square meter of remote land patches in the popular mountain range gathered around 365 pieces of microplastic a day. Since there are no densely populated areas nearby, researchers believed that they could be blown as far away as Barcelona.
Four months later, scientists then found microplastic in the snow of the Swiss Alps and the Arctic. The study stressed that high concentrations of microplastics detected in snow samples from continental Europe to the Arctic indicate significant air pollution.
(Photo from Associated Press)
Researchers from the Desert Research Institute Reno also found microplastic in the snow in the Sierra Nevadas of California in December 2019. In the same year, a collated review of 50 studies established that there are microplastics in freshwater, drinking water, or wastewater.
Following the release of researches related to microplastics, the World Health Organization published a report to look into the environment and potential health impacts of microplastics. However, its implications aren’t fully understood as of yet.WHAT WE SHOULD DO
According to Washington Post, humans have produced more than 8 billion tons of plastic since the 1950s. Even up to this day, less than 10 percent of it has only been recycled.
There is so much plastic around us and we pay little attention to their effects just for our convenience. And now that we're aware that they can easily contaminate our food, water, and the environment, maybe it is high time that we become accountable for our actions.
- Minimize consumption of plastics
- Avoid single-use plastics like straws and plastic cutleries
- Opt for reusable cloth bags when shopping
- Say no to plastic bottled waters
- Buy products in bulk
- Avoid products with microbeads
Recognized as tiny pieces of polyethylene plastic added to health and beauty products, microbeads pose a potential threat to aquatic life. These particles are less than 5mm small, they don’t degrade or dissolve in water, and end up in rivers, lakes, and oceans. Be sure to veer away from using them.
- Wear organic clothing
Microplastic pollution is a problem of growing environmental concern. As an eco-friendly brand, Cottonique urges everyone to take simple steps to reduce contribution and exposure to microplastic.
Even if you weren't able to check all the boxes on your ethical checklist, a small effort can still make a difference. Want to familiarize yourself with the merits of wearing organic cotton clothing? Read here.
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