Environmental pollution is one of the main problems of humanity. According to statistics, on average, each person produces from 1 to 1.5 kg of garbage per day. Using simple arithmetic, you can find out how much waste is generated in a week, month and year. These numbers are shocking, but this is our reality.
And the worst thing is that, in addition to ordinary plastic (for example, water bottles, various containers and other packaging), there is also microplastic.
What is microplastic?
Actually, the name speaks for itself. The smallest plastic particles, up to 5 mm in size, are designated as microplastics. Sometimes they are so microscopic that it is almost impossible to see them.
Experts distinguish between two types of microplastic: primary and secondary. The first enters the environment in its original form, that is, in the form of microparticles. And the second is formed during the breakdown of any plastic container or packaging.
Where does microplastic come from?
Microplastic is a real environmental scoundrel – it hides in seemingly non-obvious things. For example, synthetic fabrics are considered a major source of primary microplastics.
How does it happen?
When you wash synthetic clothes, microplastic fibers end up in the water. Therefore, eco-activists focus on the fact that it is best to buy things made of natural fabrics. For example, from linen, hemp or cotton. But you won't be able to completely cut synthetics out of your life. After all, winter or sports clothes are often made of such fabric.
The next major source of microplastics is car tires. As they rub and wear, the microdust enters the environment. This is one of the reasons why public transport is considered an ecological alternative to private cars. Yes, buses and trolleybuses also have tires. But such a vehicle can hold significantly more people than a car.
The beauty industry is developing by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, however, a huge number of cosmetic products contain microplastics. It can be found in scrubs, creams, shower gels or liquid cleansers. To find out if cosmetics are safe, it is enough to study their composition. Try to avoid ingredients such as Nylon-6, Nylon-12, Polyethylene (PE), Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene (PS), Polyurethane (PU), Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
By the way, the same information applies to decorative cosmetics and hair care products. Adherents of an ecological lifestyle, as a rule, use only natural cosmetics. First, it has a gentler composition. And secondly, it is not tested on animals.
Other sources of plastic
Recycled microplastics are released into the environment during the decomposition of any plastic items. For example, fishing nets, bottles, containers, bags and other various packaging. Don't let the label mislead you - "biodegradable" bags and packaging. It's just a trick and nothing more. In fact, such plastic bags contain a chemical additive. This is a special preparation that extends the period of their use.
If you really want your bag to degrade safely, use starchy raw materials. But keep in mind that such packages are much more expensive than regular ones.
What is the main problem with microplastics?
The biggest problem with microplastic is that fish and animals consume it with their food. It just builds up in their bodies. In addition, microparticles are also found in plant foods. They get there from soil and water.
And microplastic enters the human body not only with food, but also during breathing. In addition, you will not even notice that you have eaten something foreign, because the taste of the products does not change.
Scientists have found that the average person eats 5 grams of microplastics per week. It is estimated that at least 90% of microplastics are naturally excreted from our bodies. However, their effect on humans is still being studied.
If you want to reduce your use of microplastics, start small. Don't buy bottled water, bring your own bottle.