Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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5 Eye-opening Facts About Microplastics

It’s no secret, plastic pollution is out of control. Each year, over 8 million tons of plastic enters our oceans. That plastic eventually breaks up into small pieces known as microplastics.

And while some nations are trying to prevent this, not nearly enough is being done to protect our oceans.

Let’s take a look at some eye-opening microplastic facts.

What Are Microplastics?

Microplastics are small pieces of plastic that are less than 5 mm in length. Some of these are intentionally created at that size, while others are the result of the deterioration of larger plastic objects.

These plastics are small enough to be ingested and can even get small enough to be breathed in.

1. There Are Microplastics In Your Water

Have you had some water from the tap today? Perhaps from a water bottle? Regardless of where you get your water, it’s not safe from microplastics. According to researchers, 83% of all tap water contains microplastics.

Surprisingly, bottled water is even worse as 93% of bottled water contains them. Thus, regardless of where you drink it, there’s plastic. This is because microplastics can get so small that even the best filtration devices cannot entirely remove them.

That said, you won’t be able to see them unless you have a microscope handy.

2. 73% of Deep-Sea Fish Have Ingested Microplastics

A study by NUI Galway scientists found that 73% of deep-sea fish have ingested microplastics from the Northwest Atlantic. Or in other words, the ocean on the east coast of the United States.

For the purpose of the study, deep-sea refers to fish located below 2,000 feet. The study was important because while it is known that microplastics exist on the surface of the ocean, they also find their way to the bottom.

Think about that the next time you order seafood.

3. Your Laundry is Contributing

Hopefully, everyone is doing laundry, but here’s a fact you never hear about. Around 1,900 synthetic fibers (microplastics) could be released from washing a single synthetic clothing item.

These include synthetic fabrics like nylon, rayon, polyester, spandex, acrylic, acetate, and more. It’s entirely possible for someone’s wardrobe to be fully comprised of synthetic materials.

These fabrics tend to end up in bodies of water, mostly the oceans.

4. There Will Be More Plastic Than Fish in the Ocean

By 2050, it is expected that the total weight of plastic within the ocean will exceed the total weight of fish. Let me say that again, there is going to be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050.

Reports estimate that at least 70 to 80% of ocean plastic comes from rivers. Plastic either gets intentionally dumped into them or regular waste finds a way.

It is already impacting aquatic wildlife, so the impact will only get more severe.

Just look to the great pacific garbage patch for proof.

5. Single-Use Plastics Make Up the Majority of Plastic in the Ocean

The most eye-opening fact is how preventable the entire situation is. Did you know that 89% of all plastic in the ocean is from single-use plastics? All of those plastic straws, bags, bottles, face masks, and other popular plastic items could be avoided.

Virtually every single-use plastic object has a reusable alternative available that you could be using. In many cases, they are superior, like custom-sized water bottles to meet your needs or fashionable facemasks.

Instead, were just using them once and throwing it in the ocean.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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