What is it about?

Microplastics are pieces of plastic smaller than 5 mm in length. Most of them have been made deliberately, for use in clothes, cosmetics and many other products. They can also be made when larger plastic items start to break down. In this study, scientists discovered microplastics are often present in our own back gardens. They suggested this might be because plastic sheets and bubble wrap are sometimes used to line flower beds. They have come up with a new technique for testing microplastics found in gardens. It may show what sort of products the plastics have come from.

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Why is it important?

Microplastics damage the environment and may be bad for human health. The chemicals they give off are dangerous to marine animals and plants. Scientists are still investigating whether they are dangerous to humans. Either way, we need to work harder to stop microplastics polluting the environment. KEY TAKEAWAY: Do not use plastic liners in your garden. They can break down and cause damage to animals and plants.

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This page is a summary of: Collecting Microplastics in Gardens: Case Study (i) of Soil, Frontiers in Environmental Science, October 2021, Frontiers, DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2021.739775.
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