1) stop wearing those stupid fucking polyester hoodies (and other artificial fibers; aka your socks, gym shirts and underpants) -that's where most of it comes from. I'm looking at you, SF hacker nerds.
2) Even assuming the entire population of the Western US breathed all that plastic waste in and it was permanently deposited in the lungs:
1000e3 kg/ 100e6 people = 0.01kg or 10g plastic each person accumulated in their lungs. In a year. Pretty sure I have more shit in my lungs from being around diesel engines for a few days, or, like being around potheads.
According to this chart, the main sources of pollution are by far wear and tear from car tyres and road surfaces. Synthetic clothing comes last.
That being said, one should never forget secondary effects of reducing consumption which is economic stagnation, which in turn leads to inequality and social unrest. At the same time, it is not really proven microplastics are particularly harmful. Its benefits may outweigh some harm to organisms when it only shortens live expectancy by a few years. That being said, it is of course always worthwhile to remove pollutants where adverse effects are obvious and where alternatives are available.
No one yet know has bad it is. Plus living near the road causes
* cancer, asthma, reduced lung growth in children 
* dementia, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis 
Killing millions worldwide  and injuring millions just in USA 
I've also found Chicago pollution map https://www.bettergov.org/news/interactive-map-pollution-hit...
It's gross and people should do something about it, but it is a neurotic worry rather than a real problem. Most accounts (including this one) even have the temerity to try to link plastic bottles to it (which, also gross, are not a problem as far as plastic fibers in the environment goes) because it freaks people out; so they buy a metal drinking container they shove in their plastic hoodies, which will eventually become a few pounds of environmental plastic fiber pollution.
First, everyone wears synthetics, not just in SF.
Second, less plastic is less plastic.
For the record, I also use a metal water bottle.
A 15 meter wave breaking in 1-2 meter deep water above an absolutely razor-sharp reef. A plastic water bottle--or really anything at all, will be absolutely obliterated by this. The oceans are full of a microplastic soup that is the ground-up dust from our massive garbage problem. That is now raining back on us. It's not hoodies, dude.
I'd like you to explain how these microplastics are being turned into "dirt". Do you have a specific chemical process in mind? Because I don't. Microplastic is alien to the biosphere. Nothing, short of some lab experiments, nothing processes microplastics. It just gets ground up smaller and smaller and bleached and flaked by UV. It will be around for centuries. It's not biologically inert, either. It's been show to be an endocrine disruptor and kill microorganisms. It hits the bottom of the foodchain. It attracts other pollutants and concentrates them, filling a role as a kind of carrier of poisons that absolutely do kill life of all kinds. It's bad shit.
You have a lot of anger in your comment. It's not neurotic to study carefully what our massive carelessness is doing to this planet. Rather, it is depressing to see how flippant and dismissive some people are because they are uncomfortable seeing the cost our economies are exacting on our home planet.
I wonder if it is going to be more like lead where at the time it was thought to be benignish and as the evidence mounted it was clear just how destructive it was.
All synthetic, all imbued with who knows what kind of chemicals. Then add all the Patagonia & the The North Faces that everyone is hip with...
Fishing nets on the other hand? Top polluter in the ocean
And that synthetic fibers were only #2.
Wool, cotton, linen and hemp fibers seem like the way to go to me. Synthetics have their place and their uses, but there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing".
And I'm sure people will start whinging about how much water it takes to grow cotton, but they will conveniently forget to mention all the shit caused by synthetics.
I am a trans woman and when I switched the fashion sections I was shocked by the amount of low quality plastic shit marketed at girls/women. Pullovers made from 100% polyester jeez...
The fashion industry is one of the worst offenders in terms of environmental and climate damage. Fashion...
Cotton farming is also responsible for 24 percent of insecticides and 11 percent of pesticides despite using about 3 percent of the world’s arable land.
The Aral Sea, a place I have visited, was dried up by digging to redirect rivers that filled it to irrigate crops.
Now, let's say they made tshirts instead by pulling the water out of those rivers. They'd make the tshirt, and dump the dirty water. That dirty water would then get cleaned, evaporate and rain into the soil or rivers, or get dumped into a river directly.
Maybe you meant "potable water." Using potable water for tshirts is good - not bad. After making the tshirt, the water is no longer clean. You can't make more tshirts with it, you can't shower with it, you can't drink it. Just like the water in lake michigan where my city gets its water from.
When we need 2700 liters of water per tshirt, we need to make more potable water from the lake. We build bigger industrial cleaning systems. They are more efficient, and the water becomes cheaper. That factory that paid for the extra water, helped pay for those cleaning systems, and made the water cheaper for people.
Now, here's the biggest lie made of eco-spin strawman. The 2700 liters. Most of that is to water the cotton plants, so they can pull carbon out of the atmosphere and give us that sweet oxygen and stop global warming. Are you saying that growing plants is bad because it uses water? Well, let's cut down the rainforest then!! That's a lot more plants than the tshirt water.
As far as pesticides... We're not eating the tshirts buddy. "Pesticide use" is bad because it gets into our food. It's not bad on its own. You know what else kills insects? A bar of soap. If you stop showering you'll save the insects and the water.
Wouldn't the total amount of use you get out of your shirts count? So while only using any single shirts once a year will easily get you decades of use out of them, it's not really beneficial or is it?
Or do clothes get better with resting in between uses? (I heard leather shoes do benefit from a rest.)
I buy all cotton, and organic if I can.
Proper and not too-frequent washing can help.
Clothes washing itself as well, though I believe to a lesser extent.
Sufficient vs. excessive laundering helps greatly.
However, there are also trade-offs with convenience. Basic cotton t-shirts are so cheap, that it can be worth it for some people to not bother taking care of them and just replacing them more often.
If it means less microplastics, I'm all for it.
I buy most of my very limited wardrobe at Muji at the moment. But even growing up poor in Germany, it was mostly cotton everywhere as far as I remember.
(Another commentor pointed out apparently female clothing has more polyester.)
Other benefits of not wearing clothes made out of plastic or primarily plastic (into which I am lumping all human made fibres), particularly anything that touches your skin directly, and particularly in areas prone to perspire, include that you'll smell a lot nicer.
Yes, artificial fibers are bad. They cause lots of microplastic problems in local water sources. I agree we should stop wearing them. But this problem is huge and global.
The risk to human health from microplastics seems lower than some other types of pollution. But microplastics are persistent pollutants that don't go away after a year or two or five; they might survive centuries. They sicken and kill aquatic life, over and over. They are poison pills that never stop being poisonous.
It's truly bad shit. We need to think about whether we want to address this problem at a global scale or not. If not, then we are accepting a big loss of biological life due to our utter carelessness.
I just wear what they hand out.
It won't take up even close to as much space as the flour. That diesel exhaust also weighs much more than the hydro(1)carbon(12) chains flour is made from, simply because things like N(14)O(16) and metals in the particulate matter are much, much heavier.
I could not immediately find a reference for typical soot exposure.
so, 10mg/puff * 10 puffs/cig * 20cigs = 2g per pack of cigs. so the comment is saying 4-5 packs of cigs worth of soot, over a Year. that's literally nothing.
I'm sorry, but saying the equivalent of 5 packs of cigarettes, smoked over an entire year, is "literally a massive amount of pollution," is not only in bad faith, it's quite literally crazy thinking.
my intention was for facts. I guess by your definition, facts and calculations are "bad faith," and "good faith" is screaming the sky is falling.
here's another comparison. we shed about half a kilo of skin per year. when you cough up a loogie, that's a couple of grams by the way, for that one loogie. that comes from your lungs too.
And sure, weigh out ten grams of sand or powdered charcoal if you're worried about the density. This is an order of magnitude estimate, so a factor of two here or there is nothing.
As far as your question - I'm not sure what you're asking here. the soot statistic is in grams. the statistic for weight of crap in cig smoke is per puff, and is in mg. when you add up the crap in a pack of cigs, it's about 2000mg as the simple arithmetic shows. you are free to google factor/label method, or take an 8th grade science class.
When seeing those move about and bump onto each other, my immediate thought was to wonder if any environmental microplastic comes off from those through abrasion/wear.
Character of shit in the lungs > quantity. Making assumptions here, but prefer to have cannabis combustion byproducts over plastic.
I don't know what the state of plastic recycling is these days, but it used to be terrible but with promising prospects.
They were wrong. Legislation helped the ozone layer and society did fine. The same will happen if we legislate on plastic as we did on CFCs.
I gave it more like 300 years back in 2008, whereas Hawking gave it closer to 100 by which time he said if we're not multi-planetary we'll will have destroyed the Earth sue to our collective myopic behaviour; the time frame may differ but sentiment is the ultimately same: Humanity needed this reality check we've had with COVID, what we do from here on out may determine the fate of our entire Species' fate.
And we should act accordingly.
Link to NYT article: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/magazine/the-lawyer-who-b...
My dad once showed me transparent cellulose-based plastic envelopes you could eat. They didn't taste like anything but were totally non-toxic. That was in the 80's.
It seems like the incentives need to align somehow.
* Tyres? Make them out of biodegradable organic materials. Maybe they'll need to be replaced every year, and they'll cost more, that's why the pollution tax has to make the safe/sane/eco/green version competitive. (Also more investment in infrastructure, mass transit, denser cities, more walking, etc.) Urbanization is already ongoing, but somehow instead of building efficient dense cities many countries on Earth are just building sprawling slums and/or suburbs. (Plus we need carbon-efficient concrete and a more carbon-efficient construction industry as a whole.)
* Synthetic fibers. Cotton. Sure, but you'll need non-polluting cotton farms, so closed loop energy intensive [indoor/vertical] farms.
* Plastic packaging. Meh, just use biodegradable alternative packaging. Eg. paper. (Heavier, needs more energy to transport.)
* Plastic bottles. Use aluminum cans. Again, heavier, plus needs more energy to manufacture, but endlessly recyclable.
* Plastic pigments in paint. Meh, find biodegradable alternative or stop using them.
As above, so below.
In millions of years something will probably evolve to eat all this plastic, just like it did with cellulose.
I wonder if it's feasible.
I think I'm firmly down on the side of I'm against desalination if it just means more water for almonds. For desalination if it means replacing expensive imported water sources and leaving more water for what's left of the states natural environment.
I feel like things are complicated with a inescapable level of fucked.
It wouldn't matter if someone uses water to raise almonds in the middle of the desert, but it should have its env. impact priced in.
Similarly, it's absolutely ridiculous that large states can't plan ahead for ~20-50 years and instead of building efficient power plants we're stuck with windmills and solar and batteries as the "green" option.
We shouldn't tap aquifers.
Not that microplastics are okay -- they're my biggest environmental concern -- but oil itself is "natural".
Burning it in mass quantities, is not so "natural", unless you go down the rabbit hole of calling all human activities "natural".
I can think of a few ways to answer that question.
One is whether or not the material can be re-consumed or otherwise recycled and isolated from broader ecosystem damage by non human-designed biological or physical processes. Petroleum derived plastics don't fit that definition (yes I know that every few years there is a "breakthrough" plastic-eating microbe engineered or discovered, but it hasn't really dealt with the scale of the current problem). Curiously CO2 is "natural" by this definition (plants consume it), but unfortunately not anywhere near the rate needed to remove how much of it humans put into the atmosphere.
The other is that consumed material is "natural" if there is a near-term counter process, either pre-existent or emergent, that will shut down the "natural" process. For example, overgrazing by wild ruminant herds in an area will result in a population explosion, which will eventually result in population reduction either via starvation or predation. We know that the overgrazing by wild ruminants is a "natural" occurrence because the ecosystem has evolved counter measures. In the case of humans burning petroleum, there is no natural counter-measure.
Then again, perhaps climate-change and the resulting social upheavals will be exactly that. It's too early to know whether humans are going to be able to dodge the impact of that, or if climate change is to us as the disappearing pasture is to the wild ruminants.
"non-feedstock energy [for plastic production is] (between 1.4 x 1018 J and 2.2 x 1018 J)". Non-feedstock means the stuff that doesn't turn into plastic, but just powers the product. From the same paper, adding both feedstock and non-feedstock together:
"between 2.5% and 4.0% of total U.S. primary energy consumption in 2008 was due to the energy for plastic."
Also, plastics are a fossil fuel, and a lot of waste plastic is burned for energy production, which results in significant fossil-fuel based CO2 emissions.
You seem to think nature is a person, with a purpose, and designs things for that purpose. There is a christian unintelligent design subreddit for that. I believe this site is for technical and scientific discussion.
Now, let's start a nice healthy 5-page discussion about appropriate harshness of tone, ending with a shadowban of the IP of this hilton hotel.
Surprised to see Colorado so affected.
I live a bit south of there in the mountains, also close to the divide. A lot of our precip, especially in winter, is moisture carried by the jet stream from the north pacific that gets caught on the mountains. Could be the source, but that's a wild guess.