Microplastics are threatening environment

Microplastics under the microscope: Fredric Windsor

Microplastics – pieces of plastic debris under five millimetres, are potentially endangering our fresh water ecosystem without being noticed. 

A recent report from an environmental organization Friends of the Earth says that microplastics are found in the British fresh water system they tested 

Fredric Windsor, a PhD researcher from Cardiff University, says it’s hard for them to detect these tiny materials through their experimental methods, let alone the river cleaning team who want to collect and remove them.

‘Our understanding of microplastics’ effect on our nature systems is still quite limited, but it’s potential that these plastics can move through food web from the insects, fish, birds and then potentially humans.’ says Fredric.

Researcher Fredric Windsor analyzing the water sample: CNP

The source of microplastics varies, apart from tiny pieces from the degraded plastics, using the pan scrubbers, the waste car tires, washed fleeces, as well as facial scrubs in their daily life, people are causing the microplastics without noticing it. 

Considering to the difficulties of removing the microplastics from the water system, Fredric thinks the key is to prevent them from getting into the environment at the first place.

But it may not be a practical solution. ‘We can replace some plastics from other more environmental friendly materials to solve the plastic problem, but some of them I can’t even imagine what the solutions might be.’ says Professor Steve Ormerod, an ecologist from Bioscience school of Cardiff University.

Professor Ormerod: CNP

Becky Harfordan environmental activist from Friends of the Earth suggests all people can do little thing to save the environment, like reducing the use of plastic products and raising the awareness of what kinds of plastics can be degraded and what can not.  

Friends of the Earth Campaigner meeting: CNP

The study of the harmful effect of the microplastics is still at a very rudimentary stage, more research and experiments have to be done. 

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