La destinazione delle microplastiche, in molti casi, è la catena alimentare: una volta ingeriti, questi piccolissimi detriti possono essere trattenuti nelle cellule dei pesci per mesi.
Gli autori suggeriscono di imporre ai produttori di lavatrici soluzioni per ridurre il rilascio di fibre sintetiche nelle acque di scarico.
Andrea Mameli www.linguaggiomacchina.it 30 gennaio 2012
Accumulation of Microplastic on Shorelines Woldwide: Sources and Sinks
Mark Anthony Browne (School of Biology & Environmental Sciences, University College Dublin), Phillip Crump (Centre for Research on the Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney), Stewart J. Niven (Marine Biology & Ecology Research Group, School of Marine Science & Engineering, University of Plymouth) et al.
Environ. Sci. Technol., 2011, 45 (21), pp 9175–9179. Publication Date (Web): September 6, 2011.
Plastic debris <1 mm (defined here as microplastic) is accumulating in marine habitats. Ingestion of microplastic provides a potential pathway for the transfer of pollutants, monomers, and plastic-additives to organisms with uncertain consequences for their health. Here, we show that microplastic contaminates the shorelines at 18 sites worldwide representing six continents from the poles to the equator, with more material in densely populated areas, but no clear relationship between the abundance of miocroplastics and the mean size-distribution of natural particulates. An important source of microplastic appears to be through sewage contaminated by fibers from washing clothes. Forensic evaluation of microplastic from sediments showed that the proportions of polyester and acrylic fibers used in clothing resembled those found in habitats that receive sewage-discharges and sewage-effluent itself. Experiments sampling wastewater from domestic washing machines demonstrated that a single garment can produce >1900 fibers per wash. This suggests that a large proportion of microplastic fibers found in the marine environment may be derived from sewage as a consequence of washing of clothes. As the human population grows and people use more synthetic textiles, contamination of habitats and animals by microplastic is likely to increase.
Plastic fibre a "major pollutant" (BBC News, 6 May 2004).
From the Washer to the Sea: Plastic Pollution (New York Times, October 19, 2011)
Odio i bicchieri di plastica. Ma ho scoperto il PLA... (Linguaggio Macchina, 9 aprile 2011).