California adopts nations’s first microplastics reduction policy

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-03-02 09:21:06 – USA

The California Ocean Protection Council has approved the first comprehensive microplastics strategy in the country, in response to growing concern over pervasive and persistent pollution produced by microplastics. This cutting-edge Statewide Microplastics Strategy identifies early actions and research objectives for reducing microplastic pollution in the maritime environment of California.

An estimated 11 million metric tonnes of plastic enter the water each year throughout the world. This sum is expected to treble by 2040 if no action is taken. Plastics degrade in aquatic environments over time into smaller and smaller pieces, with those smaller than 5 mm being referred to as "microplastics," which are easily ingested by marine life and cause harm such as tissue inflammation, impaired growth, developmental abnormalities, and reproductive complications.

Microplastics have also been discovered in soils and plants, as well as in human stool, lung, and placenta samples. Microplastics have been found in California bay and ocean waters, sediment, and fish tissue from tyre and road wear, synthetic textiles, cigarette filters, and single-use plastic foodware, according to research. The most effective answer to this situation is precautionary microplastic pollution control and upstream source reduction.

Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Secretary, said that microplastics are contaminating the oceans all throughout the world, including off the coast of California. They must act, and this method demonstrates how. They maintain the health of the rivers, wetlands, and oceans, as well as the people and environment that rely on them, by decreasing pollution at its source.

Mark Gold, OPC Executive Director, said that some remedies, such as stormwater infiltration projects and increased compliance with nudle discharge regulations, can reduce microplastics right away. However, they won't be able to significantly reduce microplastic pollution until the textile and tyre industries take the lead in developing consumer products that don't exacerbate the problem.

This Statewide Microplastic Strategy lays forth a multi-year plan for California to take a national and global leadership position in reducing microplastic pollution by implementing a two-track approach.

The first track outlines 22 "no regrets" rapid steps and multi-benefit options for reducing and managing microplastic contamination: Pollution Prevention: Eliminate plastic waste at the source (products or materials from which microplastics originate); Outreach & Education: Engage and inform the public and industries of microplastic sources, impacts, and solutions; and Pathway Interventions: Intervene within specific pathways (stormwater runoff, wastewater, aerial deposition) that mobilize microplastics into California waters.

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