Why in news? A recent study jointly conducted by researchers from the Central University of Kerala (CUK) and the Manipal Institute of Technology has found a drastic increase in the presence of micro plastics in the soil in Kasaragod town post the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The study revealed that products such as face masks pose a serious threat to environment while their ecotoxicological impacts are unknown.
- Disintegration of facemask owing to sunlight and combustion could release microplastic fibres into the soil
- Microplastics in soil predominantly have polypropylene and high-density polyethylene compositions.
- Microplastics are fragments of any type of plastic less than 5 mm (0.20 in) in length
- They cause pollution by entering natural ecosystems from a variety of sources, including cosmetics, clothing, food packaging, and industrial processes.
- These include microfibers from clothing, microbeads, and plastic pellets (also known as nurdles)
- 35% of all ocean microplastics come from textiles/clothing, primarily due to the erosion of polyester, acrylic, or nylon-based clothing, often during the washing process and they accumulate in the air and terrestrial ecosystems.