Where does microplastic come from and what is its danger?

Where does microplastic come from and what is its danger?
Where does microplastic come from and what is its danger?

In notes, news and articles, they often appeal to the concept of "microplastics" and indicate its danger to all living things. So what are we talking about?

Microplastic - plastic particles smaller than 3-5 mm; it is not a special type of plastic, but any type of plastic fragment; decomposes in the environment for 400-700 years, or even more. Number one in the formation of these particles, according to experts from the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is car tires. For every 100 km of driving, about 20 g of plastic dust is erased from the tires. It is believed that exactly 75% of microplastics is washed off the roads (according to other sources - 90%).

The next source is cosmetics. These are miraculous granules in creams, gels, scrubs, lipsticks and other products. This also includes particles of synthetic polymers in toothpastes, detergents, washing powders. During use, billions of particles are flushed down the drain along with the wastewater. There are many of them in clothes. When washing acrylic, polyester, fleece sweaters, sweaters and dresses, more than 700,000 microfibers are separated.

The listed types of microplastics are classified as primary, and there is also secondary. It emerges from large plastic debris. It is a product of the breakdown of bags, disposable tableware, bottles and other waste, which gradually disintegrate into tiny pieces, while retaining their molecular structure.

Microplastics are found everywhere: in water, soil, mountains and ice, animals and even food. All sea salt samples contain microplastic particles. However, at the same time, one-time studies are being carried out in the world, and there is no systematic unified approach. That is, there is a scientific approach, but it is not paid for, it is not the subject of global scientific thought today.

Scientists have also discovered an amazing fact: microplastics are attractive to algae and bacteria. For some reason they especially love expanded polystyrene. If you take a fragment that has been in the sea, you can see a whole ecosystem: it is all overgrown, inside the passages of aquatic insects. What is it fraught with? Biologists are wary of this. So far, no terrible things have happened, but plastic is easily carried by air currents and especially currents in the ocean from Africa to Europe. What microorganisms, what biology, what viruses can be brought? This is already causing a headache for scientists.

So, plastic itself is just a hydrocarbon, a natural element. That is, man has managed to make such long molecules that now cause concern. When various products are made from plastic, dyes, plasticizers, stabilizing additives against ultraviolet radiation are added to it - various chemicals that are dangerous and harmful in themselves. At the same time, plastic particles perfectly absorb toxicants: organochlorine, organobromine. All this moves around the world, forming a new plastisphere - it exists, it grows and will soon make you reckon with itself. This means that an urgent unified approach to its study is needed. There is not much time.

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