Session Chair: Nicholas Mallos, Ocean Conservancy
This session will focus on microfibers in marine environments with a focus on the latest science, research priorities, and current and potential solutions to mitigate the problem.
Marine debris from microfibers is increasingly gaining the attention of the news media, environmental NGOs and scientists. Microfibers have been reported in rain and aquatic habitats (both freshwater and marine) across the globe. In some instances, they are the most common type of marine debris found in habitats and inside animals including fish and shellfish purchased from public fish markets. Science confirms that laundering textiles is one important source of fiber emissions, demonstrating that microfibers are released from clothing during washing and enter wastewater via washing machine effluent. Despite increased attention on microfibers, our understanding of the emissions, fate and toxicity of microfibers is relatively limited. However, our current understanding suffices to warrant action. With the appropriate multi-stakeholder approach, we can collaborate to not just talk about microfiber contamination, but actually begin to mitigate it. This panel will bring leaders from academia, conservation, and the textile and/or apparel industries to lay out the background of the issue, define future research priorities, and discuss solutions to this emerging debris threats to ocean health.