The first time professor Sherri Mason cut open a Great Lakes fish, she was alarmed at what she found. Synthetic fibres were everywhere. Under a microscope, they seemed to be “weaving themselves into the gastrointestinal tract”.

Synthetic microfibres are particularly dangerous because they have the potential to poison the food chain. The fibres’ size also allows them to be readily consumed by fish and other wildlife. These plastic fibres have the potential to bioaccumulate, concentrating toxins in the bodies of larger animals, higher up the food chain.

While some fashion brands are now advocating the use of recycled plastic bottles to make their synthetic apparel, as a way to conserve and reduce waste, this latest research indicates that the plastic might ultimately end up in the oceans anyway, and in a form that’s even more likely to cause problems.

Breaking a plastic bottle into millions of fibrous bits of plastic might prove to be worse than doing nothing at all.

Polyester, the primary component of outdoor / sportswear fabrics showed up as a major ocean pollutant.

Mark Browne, the researcher responsible for first bringing microfibres to public attention, said that the grace period is over.

“We know that these are the most abundant forms of debris – that they are in the environment,” Brown said. He added that government and industry must be asked to explain “what they are going to be doing about it”.

No comments:

Post a Comment