Microfibers: Harming The Earth And Its Inhabitants

Microfibers
Microfibers may be small, but their effects sure aren’t. In fact, they’re probably the environmental issue you knew nothing about:
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” -Antoine de Saint Exupery, French novelist

Although seemingly irrelevant, the above quotation perfectly describes one of the greatest threats the Earth faces: microfibers.

Microfibers are tiny synthetic fibers that appear in materials such as nylon, acrylic, polyester, and spandex--materials that comprise most of the clothing we wear. When we wash our clothing, the microfibers enter the sewer system, where they flow into rivers, lakes, and oceans. Fish and crabs in these waterways consume the invisible fibers, which means that humans, too, ingest microfibers when we eat seafood.

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Just because microfibers are “invisible to the eye” doesn’t mean they don’t exist. That’s why it’s important (necessary, actually) to stop microfibers at their source. Microfibers are a human-created problem and therefore require a human-created solution. Here are a few ways you can prevent microfibers from harming ecosystems and decrease their effects:
  • Wash your clothes less often and for shorter amounts of time.
  • Use the “cold” setting on your washing machine. Hot water can cause clothes to tear, releasing more microfibers.
  • Purchase a Cora Ball. It’s an eco-friendly gadget that catches microfibers in the washing machine.
  • Buy clothes made from natural materials such as cotton, hemp, or linen. These materials are biodegradable and will eventually break down in the environment, rather than in your digestive system.
  • Watch The Story of Stuff’s Microfiber Movie to learn more about this issue.
  • Tell your friends and family about the dangers of microfibers. Awareness is as important as action.
Sources:
  1. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/02/06/511843443/are-we-eating-our-fleece-jackets-microfibers-are-migrating-into-field-and-food
  2. https://www.patagonia.com/blog/2017/02/an-update-on-microfiber-pollution/
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/oct/27/toxic-plastic-synthetic-microscopic-oceans-microbeads-microfibers-food-chain
Posted by Florence Kane on Jul 1, 2018 6:47 PM America/Chicago

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