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HOIYIN IP, Dana Point

Friday, June 8 is World Oceans Day. Last week, Sacramento considered several bills to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean. AB 2379 addresses the biggest but least-known problem. It requires clothing made from fabric that is composed of more than 50 percent synthetic material with a warning in the label, “This garment sheds plastic microfibers when washed, which contributes to marine plastic pollution.” Unfortunately, the bill became inactive.

According to Ocean Conservancy, “Microfibers have become one of the most commonly detected types of microplastic debris in water samples, found in headwater streams, rivers, soils, lakes, sediments, ocean water, the deep sea, arctic sea ice, seafood, table salt and, most recently, public drinking water. Such widespread exposure raises concerns about potential effects to wildlife and human health.”

From workout clothes to fleece blankets, who doesn’t have some items made of synthetic material? What can individuals do until there’s a bigger and broader solution?

  • Try not to buy textile made of synthetic material, use and wash only when needed.
  • Hand-wash if possible. Machine wash with a shorter cycle and cold water, run a full load to reduce friction between the clothes which would release more fibers. Air dry.
  • Use a Guppyfriend washing bag that captures the microfibers released. (Available at Patagonia for $30.)
  • Check out the “Ten for the Ocean” washing guide by STOP! Micro Waste.

If this World Oceans Day is not your day to do laundry or shopping, can you help raise awareness? Please tell one person about microfiber pollution. On behalf of the fish, whales and all other marine lives without a voice, thank you!

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