The bright laundry accessory offered to protect marine life from my clothing’s microfibres. But would it work?

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The structure of the Cora Ball was inspired by the anatomy of coral. (Photo courtesy Cora Ball.)

There’s a good chance something you’re wearing right now will shed microfibres the next time you wash it. Microfibres are tiny threads made from synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon that are 100 times finer than a strand of human hair. They’re shed by fleece joggers and cozy sweaters, but also jeans and socks. A 2016 study estimated that 700,000 microfibres could be released in the wastewater from one laundry cycle alone.

The problem with microfibres, as with microplastics, is they’re a major source of aquatic and food chain pollution. Microfibres are sometimes mistaken for food by small marine animals and — due to their inability to biodegrade — build up in their digestive tracts. Larger fish that eat these smaller animals also absorb microplastics into their tissues, which humans then consume. …


How to choose sunscreen that protects both your skin and fragile marine ecosystems.

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Photo: Rawpixel

You’ve just had a lovely swim and it’s time to get back to your beach reading. But first, reapply your sunscreen. Where did the old sunscreen go, anyway? According to one study, at least 25% of it washes off within the first 20 minutes of a swim. The result? Thousands of tons of sunscreen floating in the ocean, wreaking havoc on the marine biosphere.

Sunscreen chemicals can kill coral, impair photosynthesis in algae, and deform marine life. …


Recently, dystopian fiction has gone from being a genre of possibilities for civilization to a genre of probabilities for it. …

About

Glynis Ratcliffe

Mama, Writer, Feminist, Singer. Bylines: The Washington Post, Opera Canada, Vice Tonic, Chatelaine, The Lily, Lifehacker

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