Fine plastics particles causing pollution

What are microplastics

The type of plastics that are very fine plastics parts, distribute in air, water, and soil that causes pollution in the environment is called microplastics. These small plastics when in a large quantity cause contamination of water, food, and all the things of use and cause diseases in them.

Explanation about Microplastics

These are the very smallest parts or pieces of plastic. These microplastics are of not a special kind or type but instead, they are actually any and every type of plastic piece having the size of almost 5 m.m in length. These microplastics cause deep pollution which means it affects all the living objects or biotic factors of this planet. These microplastics are found everywhere in the world and contaminate the products of use.

For example, when they come into contact with the food and water and then consumed by living organisms, and reach into the stomach they react with the internal lining of the stomach and cause damage to it. These microplastics are found everywhere in the world. It is created by the other plastics and when they are spread in the other parts of the world, it is not possible to control them.

They cause uncontrolled pollution called bio-magnifications. Because it increases with time, but not decreases, so its pollution is long-lasting.

It may get degrade very slowly, and take hundreds or thousands of year to be degraded into smaller pieces Similarly when they are ingested by the living organisms, then these plastics because of its indigestibility incorporated into and accumulated in the bodies and tissue of many organisms.

So it causes the death of the living organisms many microplastics are toxic and when accumulating in the blood, then it causes the highly toxic level of the blood is called as the microplastics.

The plastics are generated by large plastic bags. As we know that plastic bags are harmful when they come in contact with water, air or food. This has been seen that the stomach and blood have microplastics, that are dangerous to health.

Types of the microplastics

There are three types of microplastics. These are given as follows.

Primary microplastics

The smaller plastics that are manufactured by the companies for special purposes are called ’’Primary plastics’’.For example, the tiny plastic crystals present in the toothpaste, facial scrubs, and also in cosmetics. These plastics of smaller size are known as microbeads. They have now increased because we have replaced the natural substances with the help of microplastics. They cause 2% of total microplastic release. It is called primary microplastic. These are also present in paints, air blasting technology.

 Secondary microplastics

The large pieces of plastics that can be broken down into the environment for a long term of duration are called secondary microplastics. They are derived from the smaller ones and are indigestible. weathering, sunlight, and other physical stress cause the plastics to break into smaller pieces.

These are originated by wasted that is thrown untreated. So this includes the garbage patches, degraded into smaller pieces.

Origin of microplastics

How microplastics are generated?

Microplastics are those which are smaller plastic in size of about 5 mm in length. These are obtained by the larger plastic when recycled, it generates a large amount of the plastics of smaller size. These smaller sized plastics are called microplastics. Similarly, the use of scrubs of the faces is responsible for the discharge of 263 tones per year of the polythene microplastics.

So, they produce microplastics, similarly, the process of making polythene or other plastic bags or plastic products will cause the release of the tinny microplastics. This process includes polishing, cutting, and molding of the product.

How microplastics cause pollution?

When cosmetics, polythene bags, and facial scrubs are used and then their products are used, it discarded and released into the environment and causes pollution and similarly enter in water and air, but when they come into contact with living bodies, then it causes these microplastics to accumulate in the body and causes many complications.

It also when accumulated in the land, water, or air due to their indigestibility it is present in the water, it is known as the permanent problem to the solution. It’s mean a problem for the pollution causing is that it is not possible to see thee tinny plastics, and when they come into contact with the water and with food, it causes these materials to move into the body and there it gets accumulated. It has a dangerous effect on marine life and freshwater life as they are undigestable.

Why microplastics are a problem?

Microplastics are problems because they cause too small to be seen through the naked eye. So, they cannot be filtered out by the water filtration process, and thus once it gets accumulated in the water body or body of other living organisms, then it causes the contamination of the rivers and oceans. In water, when these plastics enter in the bodies of fishes or other water animals, they accumulate in them and cause health problems and ultimately death.

Not only fishes but also the other microbes and protozoans and other algae and fungi in water are affected. So when this water is get used by terrestrial organisms, they accumulate in the body along with toxins and cause the death of the organism.

It is known as ‘’Biomagnification’’.When organisms feed the food contaminated with the plastics, then eaten by another jeel that their stomach is full of food, although no food is present. It means that they get accumulated that they do not have the required food. 

Alarms of the microplastics

Microplastics are in an alarming situation. Because they are increasing over time and also cause the accumulation of them in the living bodies, this causes the no digestible storage of plastics in the body, thus it is called alarms of microplastics.

These microplastics are found everywhere in lakes, rivers, and also in beverages and food supplies. So eaten by organisms, accumulated in them and lost their activity to work.

What methods are being used in the detection and identification of microplastics?

Different methods have been used to detect microplastics. These are given as:

  1. Spectroscopic methods are used to determine both chemicals and the size and shape of the microplastic can be determined.
  2. Thermal analysis is needed with the mass spectroscopymetry, is employed to determine the type of the plastics.

Preventive measures for microplastics

It is difficult to prevent the use of microplastics, but preventive measures should be taken to get the benefit.

  1. The polythene bags should be used in less quantity.
  2. The use of microbeads in cosmetics and facial scrubs and in pastes should be banned.
  3. The use of plastic should be minimized as early as possible.   [1]Microplastics pollution and reduction strategies | SpringerLink  [2]ec_rtd_sam-mnp-opinion_042019.pdf ( [3] [4]Marine microplastics as vectors of major ocean pollutants and its hazards to the marine ecosystem and humans (

Reviewed by:
Dr. Muhammad Adnan Asghar (Ph.D.)

Chinese Academy of Sciences Fuzhou, Fujian

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