Know Your Enemy: The Secret Life of Microplastic.

small soldiers green plastic

Have you ever heard of microplastic? After reading this article you'll get to know your enemy a bit more!

 microplasticimage source: Oregon State University (under CC BY-SA 2.0)

What is Microplastic?

Microplastic is a very tiny piece of plastic that in length is less than 5mm.  These microplastic particles are seriously polluting the environment. It's believed that up to 75% of microplastics found in our oceans are from the breakdown of large plastic materials such as bottles and plastic bags.

 plastic cup on the beach

How Are Microplastics Created?

Microplastics are created by a range of sources including larger plastic debris that breaks down into these small pieces.  These microbeads are microplastics that are very small manufactured polyethylene plastics. These microplastics are commonly added to health and beauty products that serve as exfoliates.


What Are Primary Microplastics?

Microplastics are broken down into 2 categories Primary & Secondary. These microplastics are beads found in personal care products, plastic pellets used in industrial manufacturing, and for plastic fibers used in synthetic textiles such as nylons. Primary microplastics enter into the environment through a number of channels: personal care products that are washed into the water system from our homes, such as your sink, unintentional spills during manufacturing or transportation.


What about Secondary Microplastics?

These are formed from the breakdown of larger pieces of plastic that are caused by weathering, exposure to wind abrasion, ocean waves,  or ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

 person standing on plastic trash

What We Can Do?

Through better waste management and minimizing waste dumping at ports of the ocean are huge challenges compounded on day after day.  The bottom line, waste substances being disposed of in the ocean can be controlled through effective waste management and minimizing efforts. Our primary efforts should focus on controlling and monitoring cargo activities at the ports while limiting the amount dumped into the ocean from these ships. Using effective waste management and minimization strategies at the ports, cargo sweeping that releases slag and iron ore pellets can be controlled and hopefully reduce this stuff being dumped in the ocean.

 resist people protesting plastic on the beach


Creating an awareness-raising campaign to stop ocean dumping can be very significant to address this serious problem.  Most people are truly unaware of how harmful these dumpings are on ocean life and help everyone understand the damage that is being caused.  Due to a lack of education and awareness, for years people were under the impression that dumping in the oceans would eliminate the toxicity from trash! There are several campaigns already created including Stop Ocean Dumping’.


What the Law Says?

Laws and regulations would be undoubtedly the most effective tools to address the issues regarding ocean dumping.  However, it's not enough to just enact laws, the big issue is to implement and monitor these environmental-friendly legislations. It is the responsibility of people, countries, companies and organizations to deal with this problem. Ideally, there should be laws and regulations in place to enforce charges against industries, institutions, and people who engage in ocean dumping.


As for now, the Ocean Ban Act of 1988 was created to stop industrial sewage sludge and waste being dumped into the oceans within the United States.  The ODA or Ocean Dumping Act and CWA (Clear Water Act) were started by the United States to deal with dumping in ocean waters.


Law should protect the Planet the same way it protects its inhabitants, humans. Therefore, as a society, we should demand from the policymakers to create more ECOnscious law. Let’s vote for those who will take care of the Planet!

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