Large plastics break up into tiny particles called microplastics that can persist in the environment for hundreds of years.
Many studies find microplastics have important negative effects on animals, but others don't.
Shampoo containing plastic microbeads.
A plastic bag has an average usage time of 20 minutes, while it can take up to 1000 years to break down in the environment.
Surface water from the Vaal River is highly polluted with fragments of microplastics.
South Africa needs to strengthen its response to plastic pollution.
Microplastics in the Mediterranean Sea.
By Dirk Wahn/shutterstock.com
Microplastics are everywhere--our water, soil, and even the air we breathe. The consequences of this exposure on human health is unknown. But studies in animals give us reason to worry.
Microplastics are a major ecological concern causing damage to marine life.
Microfibres and microplastics are a massive problem for marine life. Once ingested, they
severely affect marine animals ability to eat. There's also concerns about their toxicity.
Plastic fragments found in dissected fish.
Algalita Marine Research and Education
Dave West from the environmental group Boomerang Alliance told Fairfax that if you've got an average seafood diet in Australia, you're probably ingesting about 11,000 plastic pieces a year. Is that right?
California is the latest state to attempt to ban microplastics from consumer care products. Why these commonly used microbeads are causing major health and environmental problems.