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The danger of Microplastics [No Waste]

by Vyomm Khanna | 18-09-2021 20:10 recommendations 0



When we talk about waste, the first thing that comes to our mind is litter and trash. Shopping bags, old shoes, vegetable peels and plastic straws are the usual images that pop up in our head. However, waste is actually a very broad term, and it encompasses much more than we can actually visualise. One recent and alarming discovery regarding the topic of waste is that of microplastics.



Not to be confused with ordinary plastic products like straws, bags and toys, microplastics are so small that they usually aren’t even visible to the naked eye. To be more specific, microplastics constitute those tiny pieces of plastic that are less than five millimetres in length. Due to their elusive and rather small nature, not much is currently known about microplastics, but most scientists agree that they originate from larger plastic debris. 


This debris breaks apart into smaller and smaller pieces until they become so small that they can easily pass through water filtration systems without being detected. Thus, they can easily make it into large water bodies like lakes, rivers and oceans without being detected. According to national geographic, numerous experiments have shown that Microplastics pose a significant threat to aquatic creatures. According to this research, microplastics block digestive tracts, reduce the natural urge to eat, disrupt feeding patterns, all of which reduce growth and reproductive output.



Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons are some of the major constituents and sources of microplastics, and when these products are littered into the open ground, the force of rainwater can break apart particles into minute fragments, which may leach into nearby water bodies causing great harm to the prevalent fauna. 


Some sources of  microplastics double up as endocrine disruptors. In simple terms, they also interfere and disrupt organisms’ normal hormone functions. According to research from National Geographic, Flame retardants can interfere with brain and neural development. Even BPA can cause issues with laboratory animals at the amount which is currently permissible during current methods of production.


Still, the effect of microplastics on humans after consumption is yet to be determined and still ambiguous. Conclusive research regarding this topic will most probably be published in a few years after the appropriate experiments have been conducted. However, from the effects that we can already see in aquatic life, microplastics are extremely harmful for primary productivity and marine ecosystems. 


Thus, I plead with everyone who reads this to minimise their plastic waste output and take care about the plastic products they buy from shops, as certain substances found in common products are known to disintegrate easily into microplastics. This will be an essential step if we plan on achieving the goal of “Zero Waste”.



 
Microplastics in the ocean

VyommKhanna

  • India E-gen Ambassador Vyomm Khanna
 
 

6 Comments

Hannah Mentor

  • Hannah Mentor says :
    Hello , this is your mentor Hannah.
    One consolation in sadness is that awareness on microplastics is increasing.
    Even utilitarian people tend to worry of increasing microplastics,
    because it circles around the earth and come back to influence human.
    Thank you for your great article and please keep up with your wonderful work :)
    Posted 24-09-2021 10:39

Prince Foley

  • Prince Foley says :
    Wow!! I never thought about this, thanks for sharing
    Posted 21-09-2021 04:11

Vyomm Khanna

  • Vyomm Khanna says :
    Thank you so much everyone for your valuable feedback !
    Posted 20-09-2021 21:48

Joon Mentor

  • Joon Mentor says :
    Hello Vyomm,
    this is your mentor Joon!

    There are serious issues around the world regarding microplastics.
    Most threatening part is a problem happening in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
    Massive amount of 'trashes' especially plastic bags are trapped by a vortex and
    remains in the central pacific region. Apparently, it is the biggest 'artifact' ever made
    by human, 16 times bigger than Korea, and weighing more than 80,000ton.
    The problem is that those trash dumps create a dozen of microplastic, which caused
    35 per cent of fishes around the region to have microplastic on their body.
    This is serious, as humans are at the top of food cycle, and those plastics will
    eventually end up in our body. That is the reason why we should care for environment
    and look for ways to reduce amount of plastic trashes.

    Thank you for the article, and let's keep Up

    Best,

    Joon
    Posted 20-09-2021 13:52

Miracle Joseph

Vivian Nabisere

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