For those of you that have read the microbeads article we’ve posted, it’s time to talk about another danger that is harming marine life. This time, the material in question is something we all probably own. It’s no secret that clothing contains plastic fibers, polyester and nylon are staples in the textile industry, but what most people seem to not know about the clothing they wear is that those fibers don’t decompose, and they’ve got to go somewhere.
While the discovery of the harmful effects of microbeads has furthered action within government an communities by slowly phasing out products which contain the microbeads, people have missed a much greater issue while focusing on just a fraction of the total microplastic materials that sneak through water treatment systems. Both of these materials end up in oceans and rivers, and both of these bioaccumulate and hurt marine life. These fibers also absorb chemicals more easily than other materials.
Why does this happen? While some clothing brands are durable and can withstand a wash, not everything is made well and the clothing that is isn’t impervious to shedding after aa few too many washes. These articles of clothing shed large amounts of microfibers through the course of its ownership and the amount of washes. The fibers slip though water treatment and end up being consumed by marine life and make it into the food chain.
While it is almost impossible to not let these fibers get through, it is possible to help lessen it. Buying strong, durable clothing products, clothing that doesn’t contain these plastics, and minimizing the amount of washes can help prevent an excess of microfibers. Air drying clothing may also aid in reducing the negative impact of these fibers. Choice of washing machine may also lessen the negative impact.
It is saddening that while one issue is being resolved, other issues still remain. Hopefully with this in mind people become more conscious of what they wear, and the impact their choices make on the environment.