According to a recent study, synthetic fibres
like nylon and polyesters are major contributors of micro plastic pollution in
the environment. Synthetic fibres are petroleum-based products.
They are not recyclable and biodegradable like natural fibres such as wool,
cotton and silk
Microplastics are plastics which are less than
five mm in diameter in size. Sources of micro plastic include clothing,
cosmetics, industrial processes etc.
Microplastic pollution has become a major
environmental concern. According to a 2017 International Union for Conservation
of Nature (IUCN) report, microplastics are estimated to constitute up to 30% of
marine litter polluting the oceans
In the oceans, pieces of microscopic plastic are
consumed by plants and animals and enter the human food chain through harvested
fish. The ingestion of microplastics is very dangerous as these
substances contain high concentrations of toxic chemicals such as
The recent study has suggested measures to
prevent microplastic pollution; such as a) minimise the use
of synthetic fibres, b) substitution of synthetic
fibres with biosynthetic fibres and natural fibres, c) large
scale use of bacteria that could aid in biodegradation of the fibres for reuse
and d) blending synthetic fibres with natural fibres to increase durability and
make them recyclable.