A few weeks ago I read an article on BBC called “Dirty Laundry: Are your clothes polluting the ocean?” – the sad reality is that they are.
Recent lab studies in the UK found that polyester and acrylic clothing shed thousands of plastic fibres each time it was washed – sending another source of plastic pollution down the drain and, eventually, into the ocean. An average UK washing load of 6kg of fabric can release: 140,000 fibres from polyester-cotton blend, nearly half a million fibres from polyester, and more than 700,000 fibres from acrylic. That is from every load of synthetic laundry from every UK washing machine.
The ocean is the heart of our planet. It connects people around the earth, regulates climate, produces most of the oxygen that we breath, feeds millions of people around the world every year, and is the home to a tremendous amount of incredible wildlife. If we want to ensure the health and safety of our community and future generations we must take responsibility to care for the ocean as it cares for us. Our health depends on a clean and productive ocean.
As it is now, the ocean and it’s wildlife are choking on plastic; not only do we need to clean this up, but we also need to stop this careless pollution so that it can sustainably provide for the billions of humans, plants, and animals that depend on it every day. We can make a big difference by making a small adjustment to our lifestyle and by pushing for the fashion industry to make changes to the design and production stages. We need to become more aware of what it is that we are actually buying and putting on our bodies and need to oppose the production of “disposable” clothing and push for longer lasting sustainable and eco-friendly pieces. While we put pressure on textile and clothing manufactures to clean up their act there are some things that we can all do very easily to reduce our consumer impact. As it is right now the world is unsustainably addicted to consumption. It would be such a huge step-change for sustainability if we all bought fewer items of clothing per year, wore them for longer, and threw them away less often.