Microplastics – not so long ago, nobody had heard of this term and now, it’s present almost every day in our lives. …
… Today, I grab my washing up liquid and on its label it tells me that it doesn’t have any Microplastics in it. What? Why should there be Microplastics in it anyway? It’s soap and it’s supposed to clean my dishes, why would I need plastic in a soap? That doesn’t make sense, does it? It does.
Microplastics are not only a byproduct that enter the environment as waste as we might think of first. Microplastics are actually produced to serve as ingredients in various products. In cosmetics for instance, they are supposed to help clean the skin or in laundry detergent they are sometimes added to provide a specific consistency to the product.
So what? There are tiny little pieces of rock (so called: sand) everywhere on our planet and nobody cares about these tiny pieces, you might say. Well, you are right, but who can tell us that Microplastics don’t harm our environment or our own health? There is no longterm study yet that can guarantee the harmlessness of Microplastics. As soon as the pieces of plastic enter the environment, they start to decompose into smaller and smaller pieces that can even be absorbed by plants. Microplastics find their way over water, soil or air into animals, our food and finally into our bodies. A recent study has proved a shocking truth:
Philipp Schwabl, a researcher at the Medical University of Vienna who led the study, said: “This is the first study of its kind and confirms what we have long suspected, that plastics ultimately reach the human gut. Of particular concern is what this means to us, and especially patients with gastrointestinal diseases.”https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/22/microplastics-found-in-human-stools-for-the-first-time
So how can we contribute? The first step is being aware of Microplastics in our everyday lives. If we understand which of the products we use contain Microplastics, we can start avoiding them. But additionally, we should stop unnecessary plastic use, as these pieces will decompose into Microplastics, and start using environmentally friendly substitutes wherever we can.