Microplastics: Small Plastics, Big Problem
In Aurecon’s latest Just Imagine blog post, Paul Stephenson argues that that aside from plastic bottles and candy
wrappers, it’s the plastics that we don’t see, the microplastics, that are about to damage the world we are living in.
Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to microplastics, what we don’t know can actually hurt us.
Almost everything we own and buy contains plastics. Look around. If it’s not the chair you’re sitting on, or that part
of a pen in your drawer, that bottle in your refrigerator, it may be this thing you’re holding your smartphone, or a
keyboard, or a tablet. They are everywhere. But before you blame plastic water bottles and candy wrappers solely for
climate change or marine plastic pollution, think again. It turns out, as with many other relationships, sometimes it’s
the small things that create the biggest impacts. And in this case, it’s the plastics that we don’t see, the
microplastics, that are about to damage the world we are living in.
The United Nation’s Environmental Programme (UNEP) identified microplastics as one of the alarming issues that we should
keep an eye on as plastic pollution remains the biggest threat to marine biodiversity today.
Microplastics, whilst tiny, pack a big punch. They have been around for more than five decades as microbeads and
microfibres ranging in size from 0.5 to 5mm in length. And we have unknowingly let them into our homes and closets, as
they have replaced the natural ingredients of our personal care products, and cosmetics such as toothpaste, facial and
body scrubs, and have been manufactured into some of the clothes we love to wear.
Are we already many years too late?
This article was first published Aurecon’s Just Imagine blog. Just Imagine provides a glimpse into the future for
curious readers, exploring ideas that are probable, possible and for the imagination. Subscribe here to get access to
the latest blog posts as soon as they are published.