Large numbers of our clothes contain plastic materials such as polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyamide. Unfortunately, every time we wash these fabrics they shed millions of plastic microfibres into the wash-water. These synthetic threads are so small they drain out of our washing machines and pass straight through wastewater treatment plants into our rivers, lakes, and eventually, into the sea, where they contribute to the overall plastic pollution. Plastic microfibers account for 85% of man-made debris found on shorelines worldwide.
The diptych above shows a collection of plastic microfibres that have been isolated from Oysters and observed at 100-times magnification, using bright field and Differential Interference Contrast microscopy.