If you want to drink, what kind of water do you choose:
- from the tap
- from a natural source?
Most citizens prefer water from a bottle ‘cause they consider it safe.
But in 2018, large-scale studies of drinking water on all continents showed that more than 80% of the samples contains an unusual impurity - microplastic. It turns out that most water purification methods doesn’t work in case of such contamination. Even in sea salt microscopic pieces of plastics were found! We breathe them in with dust and are full of them in the soil.
What is microplastic and what is its danger?
We are talking about particles of polymeric nature ranging in size from 1 nm to a maximum of 5 mm. So, some of them we can notice, and some of them are practically invisible to us. But they can influence to us.
Microplastic enters our body with drinks and food along the food chain: plankton ate these pieces, fish eats this plankton, and we - this fish. Estimated that those who regularly eats seafood, absorbs 11 thousand micro-pieces of plastic for one year.
Scientists with caution speak, about harm of microplastic for the body, because this problem has surfaced not so much time ago. But the fact that the environment is polluted with a synthetic substance that is almost impossible to get rid of is alarming.
For example, microorganisms settle on the pieces of microplastic in the ocean. These "fouling organisms" can migrate to where they should not be, disrupting the natural balance.
For animals for which microplastic became part of food, there are difficulties with reproduction. And simply malnutrition for this reason is a serious problem of living organisms.
On a surface of microparticles of plastic sorbes heavy metals and other dangerous pollutants are concentrated. And if such "dirty" particles gets into our body, then the impact of toxins occurs to a greater extent and becomes the cause of chronic diseases.
Where does microplastic came from?
We ourselves became a source of microplastics when we use things from various plastics and synthetic fabrics. In this case, such a dignity of polymers as durability, became their disadvantage at the same time.
So, when discarded plastic products released into the soil, they do not disappear without a trace, and over time they turn into microplastics, which will exist for a very long time. A similar process occurs in the seas and oceans.
Microplast formation also occurs in our homes and on the streets: synthetic clothes lose parts of polymer fibers when they are washed, which fall into drains, plastic items are gradually destroyed, car tires wears out, etc. Wet wipes are an unexpected source of microplastic, because their basis is not natural fabric, but synthetic.
Another source of microplastics is cosmetics. Toothpastes, scrubs, shower gels, shampoos, lipsticks and other means add small plastic particles. After washing off these products, the microplastic falls into the world ocean or soil.
Eliminate microplastic! What can each of us do now?
In the coming decades, microplastic will not disappear. It is a fact. Is really nothing can be done?
Sure you may! Each of us can reduce the personal consumption of plastic goods, and then we will reduce its flow into nature. But scientists are already developing ways to clean up world's oceans. Nature is able to recover itself, if given such opportunity. For example, mussels are able to filter small particles.
First of all, stop using disposable plastic items such as dishes, plastic cotton buds, wet wipes, tea bags, etc. For them, there are more eco-friendly alternatives.
Choose products from those types of plastic that can be recycled. So you delay the formation of microplastic, and then we’ll see, way out will be found.
Look for cosmetics without microplastic. In composition, it can be represented as:
- Acrylates copolymer (AC);
- Polyethylene (PE);
- Polyamid (Nylon-12, Nylon-6, Nylon-66);
- Polyurethan (Polyurethan-2, Polyurethan-14, Polyurethan-35);
- Polyethylenterephtalat (PET);
- Polypropylen (polypropylene, or PP), etc.
And pay attention to eco-labeling. Eco-certified cosmetics will definitely not contain microplastic. And other products with improved environmental characteristics will also reduce its formation.
Someone when washing things from synthetic fabrics use special bags that prevents microfibers from entering to drain. But this dust will still have to be thrown away somewhere, at best case, it will pollute the soil. Therefore, it will be a good decision to buy clothes from natural fabrics.
Of course, we can not refuse all items made of plastic. But we can analyze what we can change. Let's look for ecological alternatives to solve the problem of microplastics!