Microplastics and the Food Chain
Microplastic fibres
Barely visible to the eye, microplastic fibres — commonly found in sewage effluent — most often result from washing clothes made of synthetic fabrics and the decay of fishing and fish-farming gear. Plastic pollution is typically higher in ocean waters near urban centres and can be highly concentrated in mid-ocean waters by circling currents, called gyres.
Plastic particles
Plastic fibres and particles are consumed and passed up the food chain by tiny marine creatures that mistake them for food. Plastic debris has been found in plankton that are eaten in large numbers by salmon and other fish consumed by humans. Plastic particles have even been detected in baleen whales and the scat of marine mammals.
Contamination of habitats
While microplastics have the potential to cause many adverse effects in wildlife and humans (cancer, malformations, decreased immune response, impaired reproductive ability, etc.), it is unknown whether microplastics in the marine food web pose an immediate threat to human health. As the human population grows and people use more synthetic fabrics, contamination of habitats and animals by microplastics is likely to increase. Studies are on-going.
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Even if you are not on a septic system, lint can block your sewage drains.
Back-ups are expensive and messy!
Lint filters are promoted by Clean Nova Scotia and recommended by Nova Scotia Department of the Environment.
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