MicroplasticsPortfolio Date January 9, 2019
- River Issues
- Share This
Microplastics are small, barely visible pieces of plastic that enter and pollute the environment. Microplastics are not a specific kind of plastic, but rather any type of plastic fragment that is less than five millimeters in length according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Microplastic pollution is attributed culture of littering, citizens’ lack of involvement in recycling, and the amount of plastic packaging in the U.S. Additionally, plastics degrade slowly, often over hundreds if not thousands of years. This increases the probability of microplastics being ingested and incorporated into, and accumulated in, the bodies and tissues of many organisms.
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer for eliminating microplastic pollution. Tennessee Riverkeeper conducts cleanups concentrating on plastic litter removal. Litter is easier to remove from shorelines and shallow water. Once it gets into deep water it can be difficult to remove.
Other steps that could help in the meantime: a reduction of single-use plastics, support for the implementation of a bottle bill, reduction or substitution of plastic packaging, and the use of reusable plastic, among others.