Microplastics in the World

What is microplastic?

Microplastic are tiny pieces of plastic that live in oceans, crevices, and even in the air and dust we breathe! They are 5 millimeters or smaller. These are the 3 main ways most microplastics are created;

microbeads
Image credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Micro beads and micro pellets, used mainly in beauty products, break down into microplastics
Car tires, cigarette filters, and cleaning products can break down and form microplastics
Regular plastics like plastic bags and bottles decompose but don’t completely disappear and turn into microplastics

How does microplastic affect us?

Microplastic can get into things like water, salt, livestock, crops, and marine life. It can also get into human bodies through the food chain. If an animal such as a fish consumes microplastic in the form of food, then an animal such as a raccoon eats the fish and the microplastic is now in their body. This cycle continues until it ends up in human bodies. Microplastic does not decompose inside the human body so it’s in you until your body cycles it out. If you consume, breath in, or some how inhale microplastic, your symptoms may be:
Stunt growth
Diminished appetite
Increased stress levels
Affected behavior
Weakened immune system

microplastics in the food chain
Image credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

What can you do to help?

One way you can help is by reusing and recycling single use products. For example you could turn a plastic bottle into a planter. Carpooling is also a way you can help because it keeps your tire waste down. If you do these simple things you can keep waste down and your bodies microplastic free!

For more information on microplastics from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution click here!

 

**Content on this page provided by Woburn Girl Scouts Troop 69027.**