A new research report by environmental research organization Toxic Link reveals, synthetic clothing is a huge contributor to microfibre pollution, especially in India, where synthetic apparel are capturing substantial market share.
Titled, ‘Dirty Laundry: Threads of Pollution – Microfibres,’ the report highlights, around 124 to 308 milligrams of microfibres are released per kilogram of fabric during washing. Synthetic textiles add approximately 35 per cent to the global release of primary microplastics to the world’s oceans, the report adds.
Apparel made of synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic, nylon, and others consists of plastics and denote around 60 per cent of the clothing material globally, the report states. It raises serious concerns regarding microfibre pollution in India, which is the second-largest producer of polyester and viscose in the world.
Though globally there is greater awareness among consumers, researchers found that the awareness in India regarding the concerns of synthetic textiles is negligible. In an earlier study done by Toxics Link, a high percentage of microfibre was found along the Ganges River in samples collected from Kanpur, Varanasi, and Haridwar. In another study by Toxics Link, water samples from Goa water treatment plant were found to have around 37 per cent of microfibre concentrations. The latest study stressed on the impact of microfibre pollution on environment and human health due to its minuscule size and capacity to penetrate different ecosystems.
The study also said that the country has no regulation or policy to check microfibre pollution caused by its mammoth textile industry. On the other hand, countries like France and the US have mandated brands to mention the presence of synthetic material and how it will leach microfibre pollution.