Microplastics What are they and how do they harm us? - Productos Ecológicos


Microplastics What are they and how do they harm us?

Microplastics are very small plastic debris that pollute the environment. There is no standard measurement for defining them, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) classifies them as five millimeters in diameter or less.


The impact they generate

Since the 1950’s, about 8.3 billion tons of 8.3 billion tons plastic and only 9 % ends up being recycled. Over time, all the plastic waste left in landfills degrades and these microplastics are formed. These damage marine fauna,
contaminate the water
and end up being ingested by us.

Due to the increase in population in recent decades and the massive consumption of plastic, in the last 65 years the annual production of plastic has increased from 2 million tons to 400 million tons.


Where do they come from?

Anything containing plastic is at risk of ending up polluting the environment, although the most frequent are tires, synthetic clothing, cosmetic products and industrial production. Approximately between 2 % and 5 % of all plastics manufactured end up in the oceans.

There are two categories when talking about the origin of microplastics:

  • Primary microplastics: are those that are released directly into the environment. They represent between 15 % and 31 % of all the microplastics that are in the waters of our planet. The rubbing of tires against the asphalt and the washing of synthetic clothing are the main causes.
  • Secondary microplastics: represent between 69 % and 81 %. of the remaining plastic. Sun, water and wind cause degradation and movement of all plastics that accumulate in landfills -mostly bottles, bags and fishing nets.


What effect do they have on us?

In the case of humans, microplastics are ingested through food.-especiallymarine animals. Any mollusk or fish can absorb it previously and then we consume these foods, also receiving these microplastics. In 2017, the UN stated that there are approximately 51 billion of plastic particles in the sea.

Traces have also been found in beverages and food, more specifically, in tap water.

It is not yet possible to confirm 100% what effects they have on our organism, but as they contain chemicals and additives, it is very likely that they are harmful to our health.


Measures to combat microplastics

More and more countries around the world are launching measures to reduce plastic consumption in order to curb pollution. An example of this is the European Unionwhich has decided to make an interim agreement to ban single-use plastics by 2021. 2021.

Some of the best alternatives proposed by the UN are:

  • Avoid using disposable razors.
  • Do not buy balloons when celebrating parties.
  • At home and at work, always have reusable bags.
  • Do not throw garbage in the street. These wastes, due to rain and wind, end up in nature and take hundreds of years to decompose.
  • Use hair products that do not contain plastics, silicones or petroleum. They can be made homemade, much cheaper and sustainable.

Half of the plastic we use every day is single-use plastic. With a little contribution from each of us, we can help reduce the pollution that all this produces and live with the peace of mind that this planet still has a long way to go.


Let’s go for it!


"Lots of little people, in little places, doing little things, can change the world."