Who pours microplastics in the seas?
Who are the unscrupulous people who pour microplastics in the seas?
Let’s find out: go home, go to your bedroom, open the closet, take out a pullover, some underwear, a blouse, socks, some pants… and leave it all on the bed.
Now, sit down and, without any hurry, read the labels of each of the garments: polyester, nylon, lycra, saran…?
Yes, your eyes don’t fool you: your clothes are made of plastic.
On average, at least 60% of the materials that form your clothes are derived from oil.
To complete our research, we must remember that researchers from Rovira i Virgili University (after analyzing the contamination of microscopic plastics in seawater, marine sediments and sand in the beaches of the Tarragona coast) concluded that a few months ago more than 50% of the microplastics that poison the Mediterranean Sea are microfibers of clothing from the washing machine.
So, from there come much of the microplastics: the textile industry or, in other words, our clothes.
How did we get here?
Until recently, we used our clothes (a good coat, a blouse, a suit or a sweater) for many years.
Currently, we renew so often the content of our closets, that clothes have become a seasonal item, almost to use and throw away.
We buy, discard and buy again…
… Because it is much cheaper than before owing to the fact that the big brands get more benefits from the production and incessant marketing of lower quality clothing, but with a seemingly innovative design.
How has it been managed to produce such cheap clothes?
First, taking production to countries where labor costs much less, among other reasons because working conditions, including safety at work, are much worse than ours.
Second, using synthetic fabrics, that is, mostly made of petroleum-based plastics, such as polyester, nylon, lycra or saran.
But really, is synthetic clothing “cheap”?
It is cheap, yeas, but less cheap than we think, because, among other things, once a good coat could last you, for example, ten or twenty years (an eternity) and now, instead, we buy three, four, five or more coats in the same period of time.
In addition, although we conclude that current clothing is cheaper and more accessible to consumers, the environmental cost is enormous.
First, because the more production and consumption, the more energy expenditure and pollution.
Second, because a good part of the microplastics that dirty and pollute the seas come from the washing of synthetic clothing, that is, from clothing made of plastics (polyester, nylon, lycra, saran), which is the vast majority of the garments that integrate our closet.
What can we do?
Knowing what we know, we can foster the following solutions:
Filters: Purchase and place in the washing machine a filter that can retain almost one hundred percent of the plastic fibers that are released with each wash.
Second hand: Dress also in second-hand clothes.
Recycled materials: Acquire garments made from recycled materials.
Sustainable production: Find out which brands guarantee sustainable (non-polluting) production.
Natural materials: Look at the labeling and, if the economy allows you, in January sales give yourself a garment made with natural materials such as cotton, linen or wool.
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