Microplastics

Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic which are one of the most common pollutants in the environment.

As per the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), microplastics are not some unique kind of plastic but any type of plastic fragments which are less than 5 mm in length.

These include microfibers from clothing, microbeads, and plastic pellets (also known as nurdles).

Why are microplastics dangerous?

  • As per several reports, microplastics have been found to increase in drinking water. However, as a new assessment by the World Health Organization, microplastics have not been found to have any detrimental effect on humans.
  • However, this does not mean that one should become complacent as more research is needed to greatly understand the spread of plastic in the environment and how it enters into the human bodies.
  • As per the analysis by WHO which has summarized the latest effect of microplastics in drinking-water and has found that microplastics which are larger than 150 micro-metres are generally not absorbed in the human body and uptake of smaller particles is limited.
  • The absorption and distribution of the very-small microplastic particles which includes microplastics in the nano-size range are expected to be higher however data for that is limited.

What has the WHO recommended?

The WHO has recommended that the drinking-water suppliers and regulators increase the priority on removing microbial pathogens and chemicals from the drinking water. As these pollutants have known risks to human health like deadly diseases like diarrhea. Treatment facilities which treat wastewater can also be used to treat microplastics.

 

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