Fit all new washing machines with filters to reduce micro-plastic pollution

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Most of us are familiar with microplastics and the damage they cause. But the biggest source of microplastic pollution is our clothes: tiny pieces of synthetic fibers called microfibers. Documentaries such as Blue Planet have highlighted the extent of the damage that plastic micro-fibers are already causing in our oceans and food chains, causing irreversible damage. 

Clothing companies like Patagonia and researchers at the University of Plymouth have shown how - every time we wash clothes containing synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester and acrylic - microscopic fibers break off and are released into the environment. This amounts to hundreds of thousands of fibers from each wash.

Politicians must act urgently to ensure that all new white goods are fitted with filter systems to catch these fibers (the technology has been developed), and oversee that consumers have clearly labeled products, to make the best choices to help the environment. Other strategies are also in development to help catch the fibers for existing washing machines which are not fitted with filters. These technologies should be highlighted to the public as much as possible through campaigns.