A New Ecological Disaster! What is Microplastics?
A new study shows that microplastics are all over the Earth, but it is not yet known how much damage they do to the environment. The human eye is unable to see microplastics because they are small particles just over a centimeter long. These microparticles are the most dangerous form of plastic pollution on Earth. It has been found near Mount Everest, in the snows of the Arctic, and even in the excrements of living organisms. Scientists have shown exactly how these particles get into the bodies of animals, and they take their time.
A small particle becomes more effective in contact with body cells that have been in the water for two weeks or one month. Old particles are better absorbed than intact ones, says the study.
Simply put, the more microplastics in the water, the more biomolecules they attached to.
German scientists conducted a study in which they took microplastic particles and placed them in vessels with different water and analyzed them every two hours, two weeks, and a month.
In salt and fresh water, the particles showed significant changes in their structure after two weeks and a month. In saltwater, there were signs of clustering of salts on the surface, while in freshwater, there were differences in the surface morphology of the microplastics. When a layer of biomolecules covers the artificial particles, ecocrowns are formed, which in essence envelop the microplastic in a shroud of natural material.
Experiments on mice have shown that microplastics are assimilated into the body because the particles are coated with a biomolecular coating, which convinces the cells that the microplastic need to get in.
Further research on microplastics is urgently needed so that humanity does not face a new ecological catastrophe like COVID-19. Scientists need to understand exactly how microplastics can enter the human body. Unfortunately, scientists do not have enough information to conclude this. They have concluded that they need to gather more knowledge and check where microplastics goes after it is used in the plastic industry.