Microfibre

[mahy-kroh-fahy-ber]

noun

  1. a very fine polyester fibre, weighing less than one denier filament, used especially for clothing

Clothes are either made from synthetic fibres (derived from chemical sources) or natural fibres (derived from plants or animals). Sometimes manufactures use combinations of fibres to achieve certain qualities and handles of fabrics. Chemical matters are used to construct synthetic fibres such as elastane, acrylic, polyester, acetate or spandex. These materials are often used in active wear, outerwear and for cheap alternatives in inexpensive clothing. As the fibres are chemically produced, it is almost impossible for the fibres to decompose. Even after decades of disintegration, tiny particles of synthetic fibres, known as microfibers, are being discovered deep in the water system.

Microfibers Fallout, Vancouver Aquarium

When microfibers arrive in ocean, plankton consumes the fibre along with minuscule particles of plastic. Plankton is a +/-5mm organism that is a source of food for many aquatic species. This means when fish eat the plankton they too consume the toxic microfibers. Thus, the particles enter the food chain and eventually enter the food we eat. The particles are extremely small, and it can be hard to identify them in our food. Consuming microfibers could pose unknown health risks. High microfiber and plastic pollution in certain areas on earth’s oceans has lead to aquatic regions with damaged ecosystems.

To combat these environmental issues, we have a responsibility to make conscious decisions about the textiles we purchase, wear, wash and dispose of.

To find out more watch the following clip – ‘Story of microfibers’:

 

Image source: Microfibers Fallout