Microplastics: they’re the buzzword of freshwater and oceanic environmental issues.
Heard of ’em? Then you know how bad they are.
No clue? Here’s a hint: you’re probably using them at least once a day. You’re polluting, and you don’t even know it.
Here are the headlines:
- Microbeads are tiny, spherical plastic particles ranging in size from an invisible 1 micrometer to 5 millimeters and are a subcategory of microplastics pollution.
- They’re manufactured and added to cosmetics, face washes, toothpastes, deodorants, hair coloring, shaving creams and sunscreens.
- They’re washed off the body, down drains, and wind up in waterways. They’re too small for sewage treatment plants to catch.
- Once in the waterway, wildlife ingest them as food. It goes back up the food chain if we ingest the animals.
- Avoid products which have polyethylene and polypropylene. These are the worst offenders. For example, these products are known to have microbeads:
The IJC has a four-part series of comprehensive articles on microplastics. Here are the links:
- Part 1: Tiny Plastics Inflict Huge Environmental and Human Health Impact
- Part 2: History and Evolution of the Microbead
- Part 3: Consumer Decisions Can Curb Microbead Pollution
- Part 4: Legislative Update
No time to read? This stunning 4 and a half minute video will give you the gist.
Nipigon Bay, ON, is seeing residual microplastics wash up from a train derailment eight years ago. On May 3rd, we will be hosting a public meeting at Lake Helen (15 min from Nipigon) to discuss this microplastics problem in our own backyard. Join us – more details to come!
Every Tuesday, we focus on Superior Environment stories. This article is part of a month-long focus on microplastics and their impact.