How Plastic Pollution is Being Woven into Fast Fashion Culture
The words “plastic pollution” evoke images of discarded plastic bottles and bags, derelict fishing gear, and crushed cigarette butts set on a beautiful beach or floating underwater. In this imagery, the ebb and flow of plastic pollution is visible to the naked eye. But the plastic we can see is only part of the problem. What we do not see so easily are the microscopic, hair-like plastic fibers that are coursing through the water and air, accumulating on beaches, in intertidal zones, and even in Arctic sea ice. These are synthetic microfibers: thin pieces of plastic, a sub-category of microplastics, that resemble a strand of hair.Read
The World Is Your Oyster and Your Plastic Pollution Is Getting Into It
Picture this: It’s a warm, spring day in May 2021. You are at a local seafood restaurant overlooking the Chesapeake Bay and your order of raw oysters arrives delicately placed on a layer of ice. Your waiter reviews the type of oysters you ordered. He says, “Running clockwise, you have Pemaquid, Blue Point, and PEI.” Before the waiter steps away, he asks, “Would you like extra microplastics added to your oysters?” Dumbfounded, you reply, “Extra?”
Seeking Global Action on Plastic
Plastic does not abide by international boundaries, ending up wherever it floats, flies, or is dumped. For decades, China imported massive amounts of plastic waste for industrial feedstock (nearly two-thirds of the world’s plastic in 2016), but in 2018 Chinese leaders banned such imports. This ban threw global plastic waste markets into disarray and exacerbated recycling and waste disposal problems around the world. The ban and growing recognition of the ocean plastic waste crisis have accelerated international dialogues exploring a possible global plastic agreement.
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Research & Outreach
Professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University
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