Clothes washing linked to ‘pervasive’ plastic pollution in Arctic

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Published on: January 12, 2021

The Guardian / Damian Carrington / 12 January 2021

The Arctic is “pervasively” polluted by microplastic fibres that most likely come from the washing of synthetic clothes by people in Europe and North America, research has found.

The most comprehensive study to date found the microplastics in 96 of 97 sea water samples taken from across the polar region. More than 92% of the microplastics were fibres, and 73% of these were made of polyester and were the same width and colours as those used in clothes. Most of the samples were taken from 3-8 metres below the surface, where much marine life feeds.

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