Local News

Microplastics are Polluting the Gulf of Mexico and Getting Into Seafood

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Yoga pants and other athletic clothing with sweat-resistant fabrics may be comfortable and stylish, but scientists say they’re negatively impacting the Gulf of Mexico. ABC 13 explains that when “athleisurewear” is washed, teeny tiny microplastics are deposited into the water, run through our sewage system and then run off into waterways.

Even though it might seem like an insignificant amount out in the vast ocean, the microfibers/microplastics combined with all of the other plastics already floating around in the water will create a mind-boggling amount. “In fact, the non-profit Ellen MacArthur Foundation says that by the year 2050, our oceans are expected to contain more plastics than fish,” ABC 13 writes.

Since these fibers are making their way into the Gulf, they’re also entering the stomachs of those who eat filter feeds like clams or oysters. Caitlin Wessel, the Gulf of Mexico regional coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program, told the news that in the Gulf, “Ninety-two percent of the water samples had at least one microfiber in it.”

What can be done? US News suggests that washing machine manufacturers might need to create more filters to prevent the microplastics from entering the water supply. And consumers can consider wearing more cotton and shopping only with eco-friendly outfitters.