6.12.15

LAST PLASTIC


The combination of continued and perhaps increasing releases of plastics into the environment, and the fact that the substances remain in the environment for centuries and are fragmented into smaller pieces over time, potentially having increasing effects on the environment, means that the microplastics problem has some characteristics of a "time bomb". The effects of current emissions will only be apparent after many years and at that time, the effects may be impossible to prevent

Plastics that are released into the environment can remain in the environment for hundreds of years before they finally decompose. 

Global consumption of plastics is increasing. 

Plastics ending up in the sea may be transported over long distances; even the most remote places on the planet are affected by plastics pollution. 

In the environment, plastic pieces degrade into smaller pieces, meaning macroscale plastics degrade to microscale plastics, which further fragment into nanoscale plastics. 

Microplastics are detected in organisms at all levels of the marine food chain. 

Research shows that microplastics have effects on organisms in the environment. 

People can be exposed to microplastics via food the food chain.·

Playing sport should be good for human health and the environment. Unfortunately sportswear brands are still using non-biodegradable synthetic thermoplastics and rubber derived from petroleum. You may only wear your new sports shirt and shoes for a season, but these materials will last for centuries; polluting life and the environment for hundreds of years.

Textiles - Significant amounts of fibres in the microplastics range are formed and released from textiles due to wear and tear of the products during normal use and during washing. Synthetic fibres, most likely originating from textiles, constitute a large proportion of microplastics ≥20 ┬Ám in sewage treatment plants. These fibres also form a significant proportion of microplastics in coastal waters. Based upon a comparison of data on the release by laundry with knowledge of the amount of fibres in the influent of sewage treatment plants, it is possible to estimate the probable magnitude of the formation of microplastics. The emissions of synthetic fibres to sewage treatment plants are estimated at 200-1,000 t/year.

Footwear - soles of footwear are typically made of PVC, polyurethane or synthetic rubber. During wear on the soles, microplastics particles are formed. Estimates of release of plastics from PVC soles exist. On this basis, the total releases to sewage and storm water are estimated at 30 to 430 t/year.
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