Microfibers are accumulating in the ocean - Earth.com

Microfibers are accumulating in the ocean


Today’s Video of the Day from Northumbria University describes the environmental impact of microfibers from household laundry.

The researchers found that nearly 13,000 tons of microfibers are being released into waterways across Europe every year.

Worldwide, microfibers lost from clothing make up one-third of all primary microplastics that enter the ocean. 

The experts said that microfiber pollution can be reduced by as much as 30 percent with small changes such as using cold water and shorter wash cycles.

“This is the first major study to examine real household wash loads and the reality of fiber release. We were surprised not only by the sheer quantity of fibers coming from these domestic wash loads, but also to see that the composition of microfibers coming out of the washing machine does not match the composition of clothing going into the machine, due to the way fabrics are constructed,” explained study lead author Professor John R. Dean.

“Finding an ultimate solution to the pollution of marine ecosystems by microfibers released during laundering will likely require significant interventions in both textiles manufacturing processes and washing machine appliance design.”

The study is published in the journal PLOS One.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: Northumbria University 

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