Fleece to Food: Explorer Gregg Treinish on Microplastics

I recently had the honor of attending the National Geographic Explorers Symposium. While there, I spoke about the emerging environmental issue of microplastic pollution.

Tiny, invisible microplastic particles enter the Earth’s waterways straight from our washing machines. Nearly 2,000 synthetic particles can be released from washing a single polyester fleece jacket. All clothing items—including cotton and wool—shed micro-fibers when washed, but the natural fibers biodegrade. Synthetic particles don’t degrade and can absorb toxins while traveling through the waterways. If they’re eaten by small organisms, such as fish, they can bioaccumulate and end up on our dinner plates.

My organization Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation is currently working to compile the world’s largest microplastics dataset. To do this, we are mobilizing our network of adventurers to collect water samples all over the world, in some of the hardest to reach places. Join the team and get involved here: adventurescience.org/microplastics.html

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