As we know Textile Industry is the second most polluting to Oil Industry. The fact is so true to not just say but actually can be an induced affliction suffered by all. One of the reasons of it is microfibre pollution.
Every time we do laundry, our synthetic garments shed microfibres approximately 7,00,000 micons from a single garment which goes untreated into the oceans. Unlike natural fibers fabrics like cotton, hemp, linen etc synthetic fibre fabrics like polyester, nylon, acrylic do not biodegrade and bind well with other pollutants present in the wastewater which eventually enter the bellies of the aquatic lives.
The fish we eat we think of it as a good source of proteins and Omega 3 essential fatty acids is actually plastic flecked dish onto our plate. It means if your eating seafood, your eating plastic.
Synthetic apparels breathable and sweat-wicking especially our athletic wear and fleece jackets woven from the PET thread getting frequently washed sadly represents this tragic cycle from downstream to upstream.
Isn’t this a global concern!!??
How to Combat it
Its unrealistic to think that we can live in a 100% plastic free world but its not impossible to reduce its extensive use in our daily routine.
The British Parliament passed the Legislation prohibiting plastic microbeads in personal care by the end of 2017 and also its a pressure on other government bodies around the world to follow suit. As the war continues against microbeads progresses are being made.
Companies coming up with new innovations and waging war against this hideous microfibre pollution. These companies are taking up the responsibility and privately funding the research and development in this area. Patagonia Outdoor Clothing Company is educating people on how to take care of synthetic garments while washing and to buy qualitative less shedding fleece jackets and athletic wear. They have also introduce GuppyFriend mesh bag which a user can put synthetic garments for washing and later on manually remove the fibres and dispose off in the garbage.
Another innovation of Cora Ball from Rozalia Project in Vermont. Its a multicolored ball that bounces around the washing machine trapping the microfibres in its attachment.
A number of washing machine manufacturers are developing built in lints that trap the microfibres for easy removal. Company such as Wexco Septic introduced Filtrol 160 for reducing microfibres going down the drain.
As all the levels matter even conventional sewage treatment plants should be upgraded with systems like pasteurization of water, ultrafiltration as the filters are 0.1-0.02 microns sized to catch all the plastic fibers and the final stage of reverse osmosis blocking all the particles larger than water molecule from passing through.
This can end the environmental problem to a great extent.
Anti-shed innovations from an Italian textile mill Ponterto launched Bio Pile, a fleece that does not release micro plastics. Its enhanced construction has smooth exterior of 100% recycled polyester with tercel on the inner side making it cooler and moisture absorbent.
As responsible consumers we can do our bit by handwashing our garments and that too with Ph neutral detergents. Investing in front loading washing machines as top load ones release five times more microfibres during the rinsing cycle. Choosing to wear natural fibre fabrics like Cotton, wool, hemp, linen etc that can biodegrade easily without further burdening the environment.
These solutions when universally adopted at all the levels of the garment lifecycle from manufacturing to final consumption and its after use will reduce and slowly eliminate the problems from its roots.
An urgency to act now and stop microfibre pollution forever.
The story of stuff has demonstrated the issue of micro-fibre pollution through a two minute video.
Video Source:- https://storyofstuff.org