Microplastics – how, what, where?
Alarm bells are ringing over the global problem of plastic pollution and the effect this is having on our marine environment. Over 5.3million pieces of plastic, weighing in at a whopping 269,000 tons, are estimated to be spread across our oceans.
As we now know, plastics break down incredibly SLOWLY and can travel great distances in ocean currents from their original source.
This leads to an accumulation in our marine environments, it’s a classic tale of cause and effect.
Plastic by itself is a huge issue, but what do you know about microplastics?
Microplastic particles are defined as any and all plastic that is less than 5.0mm in size – very tiny pieces of plastic that cause untold damage and big problems in our oceans!
Currently, there are 2 classifications for microplastics: Primary and Secondary.
Primary microplastics are any plastic fragments or particles that are already 5.0mm in size before entering the environment, so manufactured primary microplastics, can be found in clothing, microbeads, plastic pellets and any plastics used for and in manufacturing etc.
Secondary microplastics are created by the degradation of ALL larger plastic items, once they have entered the environment, due to the natural weathering process.
These secondary microplastics can originate from water bottles, plastic bags, plastic containers, sponges, shampoo bottles, thongs, toothbrushes… the list is endless!
As you can well imagine, microplastics are extremely common in our world today. The impact of these microplastics entering into our oceans is being recognised and studied now, as we speak.
The entire cycle and movement of microplastics are not yet fully known, however, research is underway to investigate the full breadth of the issue.
Early research gives evidence of some of the impact that these microplastics are having on our environment, and the very real hazard they pose to our marine life, and the findings aren’t great.
The alarming impact these microplastics are having around the world is being felt right now.
It isn’t something that MAY happen in the future, but rather is happening NOW!
According to a comprehensive review of scientific evidence which was conducted by ‘The European Union’s Scientific Advice Mechanism’ in 2019, microplastics are now present in every part of our environment.
That said, if pollution continues at our current rate, widespread ecological risks from the spread of microplastics will be catastrophic for our planet.
We know how widespread and dangerous this issue is for our marine life, and this toxic debris is manufactured by us!
I firmly believe that now is the time to ditch as much plastic as possible from our personal households.
We stand a pretty good chance of effecting change if we act now!
If we all work together to clean up our oceans, we can do the right thing by forcing this necessary change!
Our ocean marine life deserves to live in a pristine environment, free from microplastic!
Below is a great video, by Ocean Wise, that succinctly shows the biological effects that microplastics have on our marine and aquatic life, and how the cycle works. I found this video very informative, and easy to follow, I hope you do too!
At Hummingbird Sings, we are committed to bringing you the best plastic-free alternatives.
Everything from reusable Unsponges and bamboo toothbrushes to solid shampoos and much more.