This week we are going to discuss the issues surrounding synthetic materials and micro plastics. It’s estimated that around 12 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the oceans every year, mainly via rivers. However, only 1% of the marine plastic is visible the other is thought to be consumed by sea creatures or has fragmented over time and is now lying on the ocean floor. Micro plastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimetres long which are harmful to our oceans and aquatic life.
It’s estimated that between 20-35% of all primary source micro plastics in the world’s oceans originate from synthetic clothing. Plastic is the most prevalent type of marine debris found in our oceans. Scientists have identified the highest levels of micro plastics ever recorded on the bottom of the Mediterranean sea floor, near Italy. This plastic pollution includes fibres from clothing and other synthetic textiles which have broken down over time. This is a scary reality which is only getting worse as time goes on with limited change to our habits and consumption.
We should be learning from coronavirus, wearing face masks and social distancing to protect those vulnerable in our community and be adopting the same policy when it comes to the environment both on land and in water. Buying loose fruit and vegetables where possible, reducing our overall waste and recycling is just a few ways to help stop the deterioration of our beautiful planet. We have all pulled together as a human race to stop the spread of coronavirus and do our bit, we should now be pulling together to fight an even bigger more catastrophic issue, climate change. We can reduce the negative effects we are having upon the environment if we act now!
We are unsure how much ocean plastics are totally in the sea, however as consumers we have the opportunity to choose more sustainable products and reduce our plastic waste where possible.