Around 85% of man-made debris found on shorelines is made up of microfibers!
That was a fairly hard to believe statistic for me at first, but it’s actually the findings of a 2011 study that I came across last week!
I mean, we’ve all seen the shocking state of plastic pollution in our oceans, whether that’s in pictures or with our own eyes… From straws stuck up turtles’ noses, to the unnatural contents of a whale’s stomach causing it to starve to death, we’ve also seen the damage done by these plastics in the natural environment and just how important it is that we tackle it… We may already be doing what we can to recycle and, better yet, reduce our consumption of plastics. But, little did we know that there is also something else at work here the whole time… Tiny plastic microfibres!
After learning a bit more about microfibers, I wanted to dig into what they actually are, what the issue is and what can be done about them!
Here's our complete guide to plastic microfiber pollution, why it's an issue and what can be done about it!
What Are Microfibers? And What’s The Issue With Them?
What we’re really talking about here are microscopic strands of plastic! These synthetic thread like fibers can quite easily disrupt fragile eco systems and even enter the food chain! Typically, microplastics are categorised as being under 5mm in size, but microfibers are actually thinner than a human hair! And, because these fibers are so small, they are often ingested by more forms of marine life compared to that which a larger piece of plastic would, posing a slightly different threat…
Microfibers may not be choking cetaceans and sea birds, but they can effect marine life in one of it’s more basic forms - plankton. Microfibers can more widely work their way up the food chain through plankton, and they’ve already been found in seafood such as mussels and in fish being sold at markets!