What are microplastics?
Microplastics are small particles of plastic debris smaller than 5mm in length, and have been found everywhere scientists have looked, from the deep sea, to the arctic and Antarctica, to remote mountain tops, and in our home.
There are two types of microplastics: primary and secondary.
Primary microplastics are small pieces of plastic already made small, such as plastic pellets, fibres and microbeads. These plastics are found in clothing, toothpaste, and skincare products. Secondary microplastics are the result of larger plastics breaking down into smaller pieces.
Microplastics enter the environment either by being directly introduced through wastewater or runoff, or when larger plastics already present in the environment break up into smaller pieces. Microplastics are already present in all oceans, lakes, and rivers on Earth. This poses a problem because many marine creatures mistake them for tiny bits of food.