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What are microfibers and why are our clothes polluting the oceans?

Thursday, March 2, 2017 3:51
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(Before It's News)

Synthetic fibers could be a wonderful thing. Their production
requires far less water than cotton and they don’t require toxic
pesticides to grow. But does that make them environmentally
friendly? Sadly not.

30% of ocean plastic pollution could come from microplastics

According to "http://feeds.feedburner.com//https://portals.iucn.org/library/node/46622"
target="_blank">a new IUCN report
, microplastics could be
causing even more of a problem than we thought. Between 15% to 31%
of marine plastic pollution could be from tiny particles released
by household and industrial products, rather than larger plastic
items that degrade once they reach the sea.

The "http://feeds.feedburner.com//https://www.iucn.org/" target=
"_blank">IUCN
calculates that 35% of this microplastic
pollution comes from washing synthetic textiles. Europe and Central
Asia alone dump the equivalent of 54 plastic bags worth of
microplastics per person per week into the oceans.

"Microplastics from water samples taken by Greenpeace vessel the Beluga II, 18 Aug, 2016. © Fred Dott / Greenpeace"
src=
"http:///international/community_images/84/2284/134190_238072.jpg"
alt=
"Microplastics from water samples taken by Greenpeace vessel the Beluga II, 18 Aug, 2016. © Fred Dott / Greenpeace" />Microplastics
from water samples taken by Greenpeace vessel the Beluga II, 18
Aug, 2016.

So what can we do?

It’s unrealistic to think that we can get rid of synthetic
fibers altogether. Their use is too widespread and the sheer volume
of clothing that we produce simply can’t be manufactured using only
cotton and other natural fibers. And while the manufacturing
industry is developing solutions; like more efficient filters for
washing machines, they don’t yet tackle the problem.

We need to radically rethink the way we manufacture and use what
we wear. Clothes should be produced without polluting the
environment. They should be designed with durability in mind, so
that they can be recycled only after many years of use. As
consumers we have a big part to play in preventing microfibers from
polluting the oceans, simply by buying less. If we reduce
consumption, we reduce waste. It starts with being more conscious
of the issue, and the rest should be simple.

"Greenpeace’s Used Clothes Pop-Up Store in Hong Kong, 16 Jun, 2016. © Patrick Cho / Greenpeace"
src=
"http:///international/community_images/84/2284/134191_238074.jpg"
alt=
"Greenpeace’s Used Clothes Pop-Up Store in Hong Kong, 16 Jun, 2016. © Patrick Cho / Greenpeace" />Greenpeace’s
Used Clothes Pop-Up Store in Hong Kong, 16 Jun, 2016.

Less is more

Rethinking our buying patterns is possible. We already shop too
much and wear our clothes too little. A 2015 survey by Greenpeace
Germany revealed that about "http://act.gp/2l9lqtN" target="_blank">40% of our clothes are
rarely or never worn [in German]
. We can change
that. We can buy secondhand or vintage, make use of clothing
exchanges online and within local communities, or up-cycle our
existing clothes. Clothing doesn’t have to be brand-new to be
fashionable.

Visit target="_blank">Story of Stuff to find out more about
microfibers and what you can do to help, and please  "nofollow" href=
"http://feeds.feedburner.com//https://www.facebook.com/storyofstuff/videos/10155941423465884/"
target="_blank">share the video
and spread the word!

Dr. Kirsten Brodde is the Detox my Fashion Global Project
Lead at Greenpeace Germany.

For additional information, check out our microfibers
explainer video:

"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/GreenpeaceNews/~4/dIY80LUupAQ"
height="1" width="1" alt="" />



Source: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/microfibers-why-our-clothes-pollute-oceans/blog/58853/

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