Issue 2 Editorial – The hidden time bomb of Microplastics

The hidden time bomb of Microplastics

Recently, off the coast of Indonesia, a dead whale was washed up. Over 1000 pieces on plastic, including plastic bags and cups, were found in its stomach. Following mass media coverage, the scandal of macro-plastic pollution all over the world has been exposed. In sewage plants, the irresponsible flushing down the toilet of cotton buds, wet wipes, and contact lenses, is proving to be a nightmare. What is less well known is the hidden time bomb of microplastics, too small to see with the naked eye, but which can be seen in a simple microscope. They form from large plastic objects, and fibres used in clothing. Amazingly, one washing machine load can generated some 300,000 of such fibres. They have even been detected in human faeces. Yet we no virtually nothing of what damage they do to living organisms, or live cells in our gut, and elsewhere in our body. The Microplastic Challenge, just launched by The Young Darwinian, aims to catalyse students world wide to discover how widespread microplastics are in all types of water, including tap water, rivers, lakes, puddles and the sea, and what damage they might do to the environment and human health. Check out link from the front page. We will be running workshops and releasing videos on Youtube to help you get started. 

1 Comment