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INVISIBLE DANGER: MICROPLASTICS
Shampoos, detergents, facial cleansing products, toothpastes, clothes, bags, shoes, car tires and even some foods… All of these Turkish products we use either contain microplastics or emit microplastics into the environment as we use them in Turkey. So we all eat, drink, breathe and release these Turkey plastics that we can’t see into nature. Assistant from Turkey Sakarya University Department of Environmental Engineering, which conducts scientific research on microplastics. Assoc. Dr. listed the disasters we may face if we do not become aware of the issue as soon as possible and gave suggestions that could reduce our plastic footprint.
Turkey ranks high among countries producing plastics. However, it is also known that serious measures are not taken in terms of controlled consumption of plastic in our country. Almost many of us are not even familiar with the concept of ‘microplastics’ when there is still not enough awareness about the right plastic consumption and recycling as a society. However, microplastics are found in everything from personal care products such as soap, shampoo, eyeliner, toothpaste to our clothes; we swallow, eat, and breathe them every day. But are the Turkish health effects of these small plastics in Turkey, which can easily penetrate the respiratory and circulatory systems of Turks and humans and all living in Turkey things in nature, being investigated?
Assistant from Sakarya University Department of Environmental Engineering on microplastics in Turkey, the ‘inevitable’ (very difficult to filter) pollutants of the Plastic Age, which are tiny but have a great harm to the environment and health. Assoc. passed on stunning information to.
WHAT IS MICROPLASTIC?
If we do not define briefly, plastic particles smaller than 5 mm are called “microplastic”.
We can divide microplastics into two groups as primary and secondary microplastics. From the surrounding mikroplastik; 5mm from rashes and small plastic pellets used in cosmetics production microboncuk directly consequential “the primary mikroplastik” is; the outfit from synthetic textile fibers, tire shreds, plastic wastes and other plastic debris in the environment of “secondary mikroplastik referred to as The” may be. Secondary microplastics are micro-nanocirletics that are formed after a certain process of fragmentation-crumbling, that is, indirectly. These fragmentation processes can occur with anthropogenic effects or naturally with the effects of air, wind, sun (UV), water, and biological degradation.
Although the term microplastic and the presence, study and determination of microscopic plastics in the environment were first discussed in early 2000, microplastics pose a great danger in all environments, their presence in oceans, seas, fresh water sources and their negative impact on biota have been focused especially for the last 5 years. In other words, understanding microplastic pollution and the work done on these issues is a fairly new topic.
1900 MICROPLASTIC FIBERS PASS INTO THE SEWER WHILE WASHING A SINGLE SYNTHETIC GARMENT
It is known that 20% of microplastics found in the oceans today are directly dumped into the seas, while the remaining 80% are caused by terrestrial-based settlements, including waste dumping, garbage and sewage.
As can be seen from the situation, plastics that can reach quite small sizes by crumbling can be transported everywhere by natural (streams, wind) and anthropogenic effects, and microplastics can be found in natural water sources such as Lake streams, waste water and even treated water. For example, a study of wastewater samples taken from a washing machine used in homes reported that more than 1900 microplastic fibers (microlyphs) per wash can pass into the sewer, even from a single synthetic garment.
EXFOLIATING PRODUCTS ALSO HAVE MICROPLASTICS
A single Skin Cleansing (peeling) product can contain 360,000 microbeads. A person using this product causes these micron-sized plastics (polyethylene microbeads) to pass from the sink to the sewer after each use. Especially in classical Wastewater Treatment Plants that do not have advanced treatment, these microbonces cannot be kept completely and from there they pass to natural water sources where the treated water is discharged. It also poses a threat to microscopic and large creatures when it moves to natural water sources.
SEA CREATURES ARE EXPOSED TO EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF MICROPLASTICS
Mikroplastik, the additives contain toxic pollutants to adsorplayab, they are ingested by the intake of nutrients by living organisms, wastewater treatment plants that is fixed completely in the atmosphere and in water sources in nature and they like to move easily be challenging because of the features constitute a major hazard to the environment and health.
Bisphenol A (BPA), heavy metals (lead, copper, cadmium, etc.) in plastics in order to increase strength and produce products of different and desired properties. such as), phthalates, etc. additives that can be harmful to living things such as are known to be used. In addition, plastics are lipophilic and can adsorp and transport various permanent organic pollutants (Coke) and toxic pesticides such as PBDE, DDT, PAH, PCB on their surface. In addition, micron-sized plastics; it can adsorp these organic pollutants very well and can be a means of transferring these pollutants through the food chain to living beings at the top.
After taking plastic parts into their bodies, various living things experience serious problems in their digestive, excretory, reproductive and growth systems. In recent years, there have been many studies on these issues. In the studies, invertebrates, zooplankton, mussels, worms, fish were studied and these creatures were subjected to various hypodermic experiments, digestive and defecation, growth and reproduction conditions were followed. The negative effects of microplastics on living things such as algae, water fleas, copepods have also been under the lens, and recently scientists have focused on these issues. Mussels, jellyfish, etc. in studies conducted on toothless whales (Balaenoptera physalus), which are filter feeding whales in which they live, it has been stated that these creatures are exposed to excessive amounts of micro-garbage, hence microplastics, due to their feeding by filtering water.
IF WE WANT TO BE AN ENVIRONMENTALIST, WE HAVE TO REDUCE PLASTIC FOOTPRINT
Even a single plastic waste that we leave to nature breaks down after a certain period of time and turns into millions of microplastic particles. When plastics break down and reach smaller sizes, they do not lose anything from the typical polymer property, but only physically turn into smaller plastic particles.
Preventing environmental pollutants at their source is an easier, economical and ecological behavior than trying to eliminate pollution that has formed. Of course, it is essential to have the necessary consciousness and attention for this. By making informed choices about the materials we use every day and rejecting disposable (disposable) plastic products, we can collectively make a big difference from an environmental point of view. If we want to take an environmental step individually, we can start by reducing our”plastic footprint.” At the very least, avoiding excessive consumption and prioritizing natural ingredients in our preferences would be a good start.
WE EAT AND DRINK MICROPLASTICS: SALT, MUSSELS, FISH, SUGAR, SODA
The presence of microplastics in foods offered for human consumption (in seafood such as salt, mussels, fish, sugar, honey, and even beverages such as beer, soda) and in indoor and outdoor air samples is now clearly understood. For this reason, it is clear that we can be exposed to microplastics through nutrition and respiration (inhalation), but the effects of this on human health are not yet known. Although the negative effects of microplastics on human health are the main issue, Studies in complementary existing fields point to the possible particle, chemical and microbial hazards of microplastics. If inhaled or ingested by humans, microplastics can accumulate and exhibit localized particle toxicity by inducing or strengthening the immune system. Chemical toxicity may occur due to localized infiltration of component monomers, additives in plastics, and adsorbed environmental pollutants. Chronic exposure is expected to be of greater concern due to the accumulation effect that may occur over time. While this is expected to be dose dependent and exposure levels are solid evidence, this information is still incomplete. Although it is known that microplastics have the potential to negatively affect human health, the main thing is to be able to determine the current exposure levels and loads.
8 SOURCES WHERE MICROPLASTICS MIX WITH NATURE
Microplastics can be caused by all kinds of anthropogenic activities, including domestic use, industrial, agricultural and transportation. Of course, depending on where it originated, the environment in which it will spill and create problems also changes. For example, microbes can enter water sources through sewage, while plastics that crumble when the equipment used in agriculture erodes over time will perhaps wait in the same soil for many years. For example; It is not yet possible to predict what materials such as Geotextiles used for sealing in solid waste storage areas become over time or how they damage living things in the soil.
As sources of surrounding microplastics in general, the following can be said;
DEODORANT, EYELINER, TOOTHPASTE…
1. Personal hygiene and care products PPCP) of (primary) mikroboncuk; this mikroboncuk, shampoo and soap, toothpaste, eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss, deodorant and can be found in various personal care and cosmetic products such as sunscreen. The most common plastic in cosmetics in our country is polyethylene (PE). th In addition, polypropylene (PP) and polyamide (PA) are also used in microbeads in cosmetics. Fortunately, as of today, the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics around the world has started to be banned.
Microbes found in detergents and cleaning products; plastic microbes used as corrosive particles in detergents, stainless steel surface cleaners and cleaning liquids. Although microbeads in cosmetics are banned, a new regulation on microbeads in these products is not yet clear.
2. Plastic products and materials (secondary): wear and tear of plastic products used in everyday life in homes, kitchens and outdoor spaces over time
3.Synthetic textile products (secondary); Polyamide (PA, Nylon), polyester, acrylic, etc. microlyphs (microfiber) formed as a result of washing machine and hand washing, using textile products produced from synthetic polymers such as wet wipes (nonwoven tissue), bags, shoes… from clothing to blankets and carpets. Microlyphs caused by wet wipes; we can say that wet wipes that are thrown directly into the sewer and siphoned on top are also responsible for synthetic microlyphs in wastewater.
4. Industrial raw materials, residues and wastes (primary): plastic production, processing and forming process
MICROPLASTIC CART AT CAR TIRE
5. Transportation (secondary): vehicle tire debris.
6. Agricultural activities (secondary): for example, the breakdown of drip irrigation system material made of plastic polymer over time.
7. Deliberate or accidental disposal of other small plastic products into drains
8.Other; in addition, some water softeners may contain plastic on a micro scale. In addition, some special plastics are also used as vectors for pharmaceuticals.
THE AGE HAS BECOME THE AGE OF PLASTIC
Plastics are polymeric materials used in every field in our daily lives due to the many advantages they offer such as lightness, flexibility, durability, easy work ability and affordability.
The world’s plastic consumption rate has increased exponentially for nearly 70 years, and by 2050 it is estimated that 33 billion tons of plastic will be added to the world.
Plastics are everywhere in our lives. From kitchen utensils, packaging, automotive, construction, white goods, machinery, toys, garden supplies, carpet, textile products, and we wear almost anywhere, single-reusable, durable, resistant, hard-soft plastics of the type we find. Unfortunately, we have entered the “Plastic Age” in the Anthropocene period (Human Age), which is the geological period we are in. The potential dangers that microplastics can pose in the environment are increasing rapidly in proportion to plastic consumption worldwide.
It is obvious that we cannot completely stop using plastic in the world. But at least using” plastic-free “alternatives and” less plastic ” would be an environmental and rational approach. We must follow our plastic footprint, avoid excessive consumption, try to prevent waste at its source, strive for reuse and acquisition.
HOW CAN WE REDUCE OUR PLASTIC FOOTPRINT?
Currently, the issue of reducing the plastic footprint has become a topic that should be considered first. Reducing at least the amount of plastic pollution we cause is a challenge to nature. As ways to reduce our plastic footprint, we can note the following;
1) reusable ones should be preferred instead of disposable plastic bags.
2) instead of using plastic PET bottles, we can carry reusable glass or metal bottles with us.
3) products made of reusable glass, ceramic or metal material should be preferred instead of plastic boxes, containers and cups. For example: using glass-porcelain cups instead of using polystyrene (disposable) cups in our offices.
4) when buying personal care products (face washing gel, toothpaste, cosmetics) we should try to take those that do not contain plastic.
5) instead of buying synthetic textile products, natural cotton, linen, silk, etc. we have to choose what happens.
6) it can be borrowed from a second hand or someone else instead of buying something new.
7) excessive use of packaging should be stopped. Care should be taken to ensure that the product packaging to be taken is “eco-friendly” or “biodegradable”.
8) we must first take care that the products we use are natural. When buying any product, we should read the content label thoroughly, try to get the natural alternative if it contains plastic.
9) we should avoid waste when using all kinds of products, including plastic products.
10) in relation to the products we will use, we should make a habit of thinking about issues such as environmental impact, naturalness, health effects, benefits and cost, waste formation, and raise new generations with this awareness.
BAN IN EUROPE AND AMERICA
He’s more than aware now. As of 2018, the use of microplastics in cosmetics is banned in Europe and America. In our country, we have also found that the use of PE in face washing gel or peeling products has thawed.
Again, PET bottles used in Europe, America, Australia and Japan are placed on the streets in encouraging piggy banks to facilitate recycling, and thanks to them, the public throws waste bottles into piggy banks for a small fee. In addition, single-use plastic bags used in grocery stores are paid for, allowing the public to promote long-lasting bags.
In our country, there are no restrictions or prohibitions on plastic bags yet.
Current studies reveal the need to discuss the potential effects of microplastics on human health in a scientifically interdisciplinary environment and to include it in priority areas for future research.
WE MUST TAKE PRECAUTIONS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
In order to assess the environmental risks of microplastics in aquatic ecosystems, a comprehensive knowledge of the existence, quantity, condition, resources and biological effects of microplastics is needed. The creation of such critical information by environmental scientists of different disciplines (chemistry, biology, hydrology, eco-toxicology, medicine, etc.) and the joint effort of scientists and support depends on the allocation of public funding predictably enough. From the point of view of the use and sustainability of Water Resources in our country, microplastics, which are important pollution related to water and air quality, need to be treated and studied with great seriousness.