Microfibers- the Tiniest Enemies

World Economic Forum informs that every time people wash their clothes they are putting plastic in the ocean. 60% of the world’s clothes are made synthetically from petrochemicals, for example, polyester, nylon and acrylic. They contain tiny plastic strands less than one-fifth the width of a human hair which are called microfibers. When washing clothes microfibers come off into the water. Wastewater treatment plants filter out around 60% of the microfibers. But the rest travel into rivers and oceans. When they are eaten by fish entering our food chain.

Every year around half a million tons of plastic microfibers from clothing end up in the ocean. That’s equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles. World Economic Forum offers tips to lessen the flow of microfibres into waters.

  • Avoid synthetic clothing where possible and choose natural fabrics instead.
  • Wash synthetic clothes less often and on a shorter cycle.
  • Fill the washing machine up as bigger loads create less friction so fewer fibers rub off.
  • Avoid powder detergent and high temperatures. Both scrub fibres off.
  • There are filters that can be added to your washing machine which absorb 87% of microfibers.

Of course, for a bigger impact, the whole industry must change its direction.


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