Keeping our environment clean is a must if we need to sustain planet earth for other generations to come. Most human activities have impacted the earth in negative ways leading to climatic change. There are different ways human activities pollute the planet examples of such are deforestation, burning fossil fuels and many others. One of the activities of men that have negatively impacted the earth though insignificant but can be damaging is the pollution of the earth with microplastic fibre.
Microplastic fibres are small pieces of plastic gotten from the breakdown of plastic materials such as plastic bottles, car tires, plastic beads, synthetic fibre or anything plastic. The increase in the production of plastic over the years has led to the increase in the pollution of the earth by these microplastic fibres.
Microplastic affects the earth and humans, below are the effects of microplastic fibre.
1.Harm to the survival, growth and fertility of marine life.
Due to the small size of these microplastic fibres, marine animals tend to mistake them for food, this leads to a buildup of microplastic fibre in the bodies of these marine animals leading to a negative impact on aquatic life. Some of these sea animals die as a result of this, other’s fertility is affected thereby reducing the rate of reproduction and these can lead to aquatic animals going extinct.
Microplastic also pollutes the soil especially in areas where there are poor waste management systems. Studies have shown that microplastic fibres are harmful to the soil organisms such as earthworms. Earthworms are needed for nourishing the soil, it increases the availability of nutrients in the soil, gives the soil a more stable soil structure and creates better soil drainage which allows water and airflow through the soil. Earthworm also breaks down organic matter in the soil thereby converting it into fertilizer.
3.Harmful to humans
Studies have shown that the air we breathe and the food we eat contain particles of microplastic fibre and this is not good for human health. The quantity of this microplastic fibre in the air or food differs from state to state, depending on how each society manages its waste. Studies have shown that the microplastic fibre causes physical toxicity which has led to cellular damage, secretion of cytokines, immune reaction, inflammation, oxidative stress and other factors.
As shown above, microplastic fibre is dangerous to our health, planet and animals, the following are ways to stop microplastic pollution.
- Buy clothes made from natural materials. When you purchase your clothes, it is important to buy clothes made from organic materials such as cotton.
- Use cold wash setting. Using cold water to wash your clothes reduces the shedding compared to when you use warm water to wash.
- Buy plastic-free cosmetics. Buying plastic-free cosmetics would reduce one’s exposure to these toxic elements. So it is important to read labels before buying your cosmetics.
- Change how you do laundry. Reducing the rotation speed when using a washing machine is important as this would reduce the amount of microplastic fibre the clothes would shed.