Pollution from plastics have always ranked in the top for being a global problem. Now microplastic pollution is joining the club. Microplastics, as the name suggests are the minute particles of plastic. The size of a particle is less than 5mm. They occur from the larger plastics which degrades into small pieces as expected, they are also added as exfoliants to beauty and health products. Microbeads which are intentionally designed to be small can be added to this list of sources. Microplastic fragments are also found in single use plastic bottles and everyday usage plastic products like containers also one of the sources. As the macroplastic waste is omnipresent but prominent in marine bodies, microplastic also is a major pollutant of the oceans and large lakes. They get accumulated in soil as well.
Microplastics is a quite new to the pollutants list. But they are a serious threat as they can not be removed by water filtration systems. Aquatic life and birds will feed this microplastics mistaking them as food. There is no complete information available about the pollution because of less research in the area. But slowly the research is increasing in the field.
hazards of microplastics
Microplastics are made of polypropylene, polystyrene and polyethylene. UV light fragments large plastic litter into micro and nanoparticles of plastic. As mentioned above, the capacity of the to microplastics escape the filtration process poses a serious threat. We all know plastic can not be digested. If these microparticles enter the body they may get accumulated. Because of their small size they might posses the capacity to pass through cells and tissues. Their segregation in aquatic animals will be a threat indirectly to humans because we feed on them. It is estimated that humans consume 11,000 microplastic particles per annum.
If these microplastics enter cells, they may cause irritation as they are foreign bodies. They are chemically toxic to the body as well. But it is the biggest threat to marine animals. They affect the reproducing capacity of the marine animals. The number of larvae were less and size of the offspring was small. They got physical inabilities, problems in swimming. They block gastrointestinal tracts of the animals.
some solutions to reduce microplastic pollution
The main solution is the 3R, reuse reduce and recycle. Any pollution related to plastic can be reduced if we reduce the usage of the plastic. Mainly the single usage plastics should be reduced. Products containing microbeads should be avoided. people should be aware about the problems and should support bans on plastic. Conducting beach cleanups will reduce the amount of plastic that reaches the ocean. Ocean cleanup projects will also do maximum help. Finding the major sources of the problem and starting to solve the problem at its origin. People should try to have zero waste life, at least mini waste life so that there will be less contributions towards pollution. Taking the help of technologies to check the pollution and developing perfect filter systems which will filter off 100% microplastics.
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