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LONDON – New research suggests there could be as much as 8-14 million tonnes of microplastics on the seafloor – up to 35 times more than the estimated weight of plastic pollution on the ocean’s surface. Interest has grown in microplastic pollution in recent years, a huge contributor to which is the apparel industry in the form of synthetic microfibres.

Yet the researchers sought to fill a gap in current knowledge by focusing on how much plastic pollution has found its way into the deeper areas of the world’s oceans. “The extent of microplastic pollution in deep-sea sediments remains poorly quantified, but this knowledge is imperative for predicting the distribution and potential impacts of global plastic pollution,” say the authors.

The findings of the study highlight once again the grave threat posed by the plastics industry – and synthetic microfibres – to the world’s waterways. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition continues to tell us polyester is the world’s most sustainable fibre on its Higg MSI, yet this tool does not account for the devastating ticking time-bomb of microplastic pollution.

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