Categories: Marine wildlife

Filters on washing machines to stop microfibres polluting the oceans

Studio photograph of microplastics from water samples taken by manta trawl in different German rivers. Photo: Greenpeace.

I would rate this as an excellent idea. The Marine Conservation Society has suggested that washing machines are fitted with filters across the outlet where the dirtywater goes to waste to prevent plastic microfibres from polluting the oceans. They want them to be installed from 2024. A lot of people now realise that these minute particles of plastic called “microfibres” are shed from synthetic garments when they are washed in a washing machine.

More than 700,000 can come from a single washing machine load of synthetic clothing. The plastic particles find their way to the deepest part of the oceans. And you will find them pretty well everywhere in all corners of the planet. You will even find them inside fish and other marine wildlife. Which means you will find them inside us, humankind.

A survey for the charity found that 81% of people supported the idea but only 26% would pay £50 to cover the cost.

Comment: I would suggest that £50 to fit the filter is excessive. I would also suggest that an independent company should manufacture the filter which could be retrofitted into existing washing machines by the owner of the machine. I can’t see any reason why it can’t be added to the outlet hose pipe which is dropped into a downpipe. It doesn’t have to be built into the machine itself by the machine’s manufacturer.

I would also suggest that the survey indicates a true lack of commitment to protecting the planet. It is surprising and shortsighted that people do not see the benefits to them, the people who voted in the survey, of stopping micro-plastics entering the oceans. Ultimately the health issues come back to humans who eat the particles inside marine produce. If you pollute the planet to this extent it must affect all of humankind at sometime in the future. Let’s see a more enlightened attitude to something as simple as adding a filter to a washing machine, please.


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