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Published on Saturday, 09 December 2017

UN resolution aims to combat microplastics, as textiles concern rises

Written by John Mowbray

(c) University of Newcastle

NAIROBI – In a move that could once again turn the spotlight back on to the release of synthetic microfibres from textiles, the United Nations Environment Assembly has this week established a specialist group to look at the options to tackle marine plastic pollution.

The new resolution was backed by more than 200 nations in a bid to eliminate marine plastic pollution by examining the role of waste prevention, re-use and recycling and highlighting the potential key role of extended producer responsibility.

The move also comes after several textile industry initiatives are now underway to understand not only how much the sector contributes to marine plastic pollution, but also how synthetic textile fibres such as nylon and polyester are released from clothing.

Scientists are becoming increasingly concerned that textiles are indeed an important source of oceanic microplastic pollution. New research has just been published which shows how organisms from six of the deepest places on Earth were found to contain man-made fibres and plastic in their digestive systems.

“Isolating plastic fibres from inside animals from nearly 11 kilometres deep (7 miles) just shows the extent of the problem,” the research team noted.


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