Plastic Crisis

Over 800 trillion microbeads enter US wastewater daily


© 5Gyres/Oregon State University

“We’re facing a plastic crisis and don’t even know it,” says author of new report.In our continued pursuit to scrub the daylights out of everything, we’ve created quite a mess. From abrasive cleaners to face wash and toothpaste, plastic sand-sized microbeads are added to hundreds of products for a good gritty texture. Given that these products are meant to be rinsed down the drain, the impact on water habitats is substantial.How substantial? A new analysis that used extremely conservative methodology, put the number at 8 trillion microbeads per day going straight into aquatic habitats in the United States – with another 800 trillion remaining in sewage plant sludge which is often distributed to land … where many of the microbeads find their way into streams and oceans. To get a grasp of how much a trillion is, a trillion seconds adds up to 31,709.8 years.

“We’re facing a plastic crisis and don’t even know it,” said Stephanie Green from Oregon State University, and co-author of the study.

Microbeads© 5Gyres/Oregon State University

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