Ten ‘disguised’ microplastics that you have to avoid if you want to save the oceans

Among other things, car tyres, synthetic clothing and even tea bags contain microplastics.

The problem with any kind of plastic is that it eventually becomes tiny but never disappears completely. In the oceans even the largest and most stubborn pieces of plastic are broken down by the waves and sunlight until they are smaller than five millimetres in diameter – about the size of an ant. At that time, they are classified as’ secondary microplastics’. This type of plastic, which was once a drinking bottle, equipment for fishing, disposable cutlery and so on, is even more common than’ primary microplastics’, which were small from the outset, such as the micrograins contained in toothpaste.

Micrograins are the best known cause of contamination by small pieces of plastic. But that also means that there are other, less obvious sources for microplastics in everyday life. We call them ‘hidden microplastics’, and they fall within this category:

Car tyres

Car tyres are made of rubber and approximately 60% plastic (styrene-butadiene). The friction, pressure and heat caused by driving, the tyres wear out so hard that plastic dust is formed. Blowing that dust into the atmosphere can contribute to poor air quality. This is seen by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a cause of premature death.

The dust can also flush to rivers and oceans via sewers. It will probably be eaten there by filtering animals such as mussels, which will end up in our food chain. The industry could go back to natural rubber rubber latex, but that would put too much pressure on the environment: growing rubber plantations are already a catastrophe for endangered species in South East Asia.

Waste plastics ares strewn on the Bao beach near Dakar, on September 2, 2015. About 4.5 million Senegalese (66.6% of the national population) live in the Dakar coastal area and most of the economic activity in the country are concentrated in the coastal zone. A preliminary study of Senegal has demonstrated that sea-level rise due to global warming could have major impacts causing inundation in the delta and estuaries and erosion along the sandy coastlines. AFP PHOTO / SEYLLOU (Photo credit should read SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images)

Synthetic clothing

Outdoor sports equipment, leggings, fleeces and sweaters made of acrylic, polyester, polyamide, spandex or nylon release up to 700,000 microfibres per wash. And once they end up in the water, it is difficult to filter them out again. More still, research has shown that in many countries the tap water now contains microfibres.

In the USA, for example, 94% of the steel microfibres contained. They end up in the air because of friction or as dust from the dryer and can then be inhaled. It is also suspected that the lungs can absorb the toxins in the fibres. In nature, the microfibres are eaten by fish and other animals, which prefer them to’ real’ food. A solution can be to provide all washing machines with filters and to choose natural fibres.

Tennis balls

The fluffy exterior is made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), the same material that plastic milk bottles are made of. Just like car tires, the plastic is worn away by use, making it dusty.

Pods or tablets for dishwasher or washing machine

All kinds of detergents and abrasive disinfectants contain microplastics such as polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP), the same granules banned in cosmetics in France and the United Kingdom. It would be better to use a natural material, such as ground coconut shells.

Cigarette butts

The filters are made from cellulose acetate, a type of plastic that is not biodegradable. They can emit microfibres and, when used, they also emit large quantities of toxins, including nicotine. Cigarette butts are a major polluter in the oceans and are most frequently collected when cleaning up beaches.


Glitter is a favourite part of craft lessons, but not innocent. It is made from PET or polyvinyl chloride film (PVC) and is very difficult to break down. Instead, you could use glitter of biodegradable film made from eucalyptus.

Wet wipes

All these products are usually made from polyester, polyethylene and polypropylene – or from a mixture of these plastics and natural fibres. They cause so-called “fat mountains” that block sewers and are not broken down. They are also a source of plastic microfibres. A traditional flannel version made entirely of cotton is an environmentally friendly solution.

Tea bags

Many tea bags are not fully biodegradable because they include a polypropylene “skeleton”. This skeleton then breaks down into tiny particles when the paper is decomposed in the compost heap or soil. Ask the producer if your tea is free of plastic, or switch to loose tea.


Plastic dust from thermoplastic paint used for road markings, ships and houses is spread over the ocean surface. Fortunately not all paint contains plastic: go looking for paint with linseed oil or latex as a binding agent.

Paper cups

Paper cups are coated on the inside with a layer of polyethylene. Just like tea bags, the paper is completely broken down, but the plastic falls apart when the cup is thrown away or composted. Such mixed materials must therefore be treated by a specialised recycling company. You can also always bring a refillable bag.

“Underneath the palm trees and embedded in our soft sand are microplastics.” Photo by BPM Ocean Ambassador Tarryn Johnson, at Cotton Bay Lagoon, Eleuthera.


According to the Plastic Soup Foundation, 311 million tonnes of new plastic are currently being produced each year. Approximately half is for single use and is thrown away immediately. Most plastics are not biodegradable. We neet to combat plastic pollution in the ocean becouse is growing at an appalling rate. Plastic production is expected to increase enormously in the coming years as the world population and economy continues to grow.

Watch this this documentary shot on more than 20 locations. Explorers Craig Leeson and Tanya Streeter and a team of international scientists reveal the causes and consequences of plastic pollution and share solutions.

Volvo Ocean Race and Clean Seas unite to combat plastic pollution in the ocean

This is quite unfortunate for us that around the globe, oceans are going through a tragedy of plastic pollution. The amount of plastic that is finding its way to our oceans and beaches is terrific. About 40% of the world’s oceans are affected by billions of pounds of plastic.

For the eradication of plastic pollution of our oceans two organizations; Volvo Ocean Race and Clean Seas have taken a step ahead. These organizations have united for the noble cause to dig the solution of plastic pollution. Their main motto is to make the waves plastic free.

What is Volvo Ocean Race?

We must first know that what is “Volvo Ocean Race” in actual. Volvo Ocean Race is a yacht race that takes place around the world. It was established in 1973. This race takes place after three years. The initiating sponsor of this race was British White-bread brewing company. That is why on a formal note it is also called “White-bread Round the World Race.” Currently, its name, i-e. Volvo Ocean Race is because of its owner, a Swedish automobile manufacturer Volvo car. In this race, 7 teams are participating. It started from Alicante, Spain in October 2017 and will finish at The Hague, Netherlands in June 2018. It is considered to be one of the toughest sailing events in sports history. Hundreds of local students are taking part in this race. They have a focus on interactive education and empowering the next generation.

What are Clean Seas?

Clean Seas is a campaign which was launched at the earliest time of this year, i-e. January 2017. Clean Seas wants to enlighten the plastic pollution project. It wants to aware people around the globe that how plastic pollution is increasing on a daily basis. Torn and twisted pieces of plastic swirling in seas and oceans have been giving us alarming signals about the level of plastic pollution. Clean Seas wants the public and private sectors to help in improvising the plastic management and stick to the noble cause of getting rid of plastic pollution by redesigning, reusing, recycling and recovering plastic.

Hence, for the betterment of seas and to put an end to plastic pollution, Sweden has joined hands with this campaign. Clean seas, a global initiative by UN Environment aims to minimize and end the litter harming marine life. The head of the UN Environment Erik Solheim appreciated the generous gesture of Sweden. He welcomed the strong support and emphasized that this support will help them in carrying out concrete actions.

 What is plastic pollution doing to marine life?

The marine habitats around the globe are rich in breathtakingly beautiful sights. The marine life offers undiscovered species as well as known lives with varying appearances and survival tactics. Unfortunately, the human carelessness is busy in increasing the ocean debris which is proving to be fatal for the underwater life. When plastic from terrestrial sources enters the water, it kills fish, seabirds and other marine mammals. According to surveys, around 250+ species are affected. So far the worst impact has been on turtle species (86%), followed by 44% of seabird species and 43% of other marine animals. Plastic pollution has been too cruel to these harmless species. Upon ingestion, suffocation, entanglement, drowning, and infections, marine species find it fatal to fight with plastic pollution. Oceanic currents transport the plastic objects, including the plastic bags, gloves, balls, wrappers, and ropes, etc. Migration of these objects marks the beginning of plastic pollution. Only humans are to be blamed for these fatalities. The good news is that several organizations are carrying out important work by providing solutions to get rid of plastic trash in the sea.

What these campaigns want us to do?

It is, from the beginning to the end, humans who are supposed to make a difference. Our simple acts which individually might not hold significance, but on a collective scale, they do a lot. Humans ruined the marine life with plastic pollution, and now we have to reverse the tragedy put our best efforts to remove the last piece of plastic from oceans. Authorities and governments must take initiation on a grand scale. One such effort includes a complete ban on usage of disposable plastics near the oceanic boundaries.

Clean Seas campaign joined by Volvo Ocean Race is taking strong concrete steps to make oceans plastic free. We all must show our moral and practical support to win this fight against plastic pollution,

Plastic Bank – Stop Ocean Plastic

Plastic Bank is one of the most popular programs that was first found in 2013 by David Katz & Shaun Frankson to give a solution to stop ocean plastic. Plastic Bank has a mission to stop Ocean Plastic by inviting many people to earn money by collecting some waste from the ocean to clean up the sea. Plastic Bank has a hope to get rid of plastic garbage from the ocean and save the sea species life from contamination.

As we know that our ocean today is no longer clean because of plastic bags which are floating on the sea and kill many sea species. Everybody must take responsibility to clean up the ocean from plastic garbage. In this case, Plastic Bank will try to facilitate the people to collect some garbage from the ocean and make some money from the waste.

Plastic pollution

Do you want to get some extra income while saving our environment too? Fortunately, you are able to join this Plastic Bank program and you can also invite others to do the same and earn some money from collecting some plastic waste. Nowadays, there are about one million people who support this program and you can even find this Plastic Bank solution on social media networks. This can be the best way to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean and find the value in the waste found where you can send the plastic garbage to collectors.

Plastic Bank is not only helping the environment, but they also save the life of sea species so that they can regenerate and have a better ecosystem. Now, it is our turn to be aware of our ocean condition for a better environment. In addition, it is also will be very beneficial for the human health and it also gives a beauty value and makes our world look wonderful again. Plastic Bank will never stop this program until the ocean is clean totally and they also invite people for not littering and care about the environment more.