Washing machines must be fitted with microfibre filters, says charity

The Marine Conservation Society is calling on the government to ensure that washing machines are fitted with microfibre filters to prevent microplastics from spreading to the marine environment. 

Across the UK, at least 9.4 trillion microfibres are released into the environment in one week alone.

Fabrics such as polyester, nylon and acrylic are created using plastic microfibres, meaning that with every wash these plastic is shed from the clothes into the marine environment

Once in the ocean, these microfibres can then be eaten by marine animals which mistake the fibres for food.

Recent research has highlighted that 63% of shrimp in the North Sea contains synthetic fibres, this means that the fibres are not only effecting marine life but are also entering into our food chain.

The Marine Conservation Society is, therefore, calling on the government to do more to help stop the flow of plastic fibres entering the ocean.

To do this, the charity is urging the government to make washing machine manufacturers to be required, by law, to include microfibre filters in all washing machines from 2024.

These filters would be fitted internally in domestic and commercial washing machines and would capture microfibres in the same way lint is caught in tumble driers.

Dr Laura Foster, Marine Conservation Society’s head of clean seas said: ‘Despite just 40% of the UK public having heard of ‘microfibre pollution’ before taking a recent survey from YouGov, once made aware of how prolific the pollution is, most (81%) supported legislation to get microfibre filters fitted into all new domestic washing machines.

‘We believe that these filters will make a real difference to the microfibre pollution in our seas. We want to see all manufacturers committing, over the next 12 months, to have the filters within all their designs. Government legislation will provide the push which is needed to see microfibre filters in all washing machines in the future.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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Pippa Neill

Pippa Neill

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