Interview: investigative journalist Tyree on microplastics in drinking water

Investigative journalist Chris Tyree of Orb Media met up with Dr. Mark Anthony Browne, the English scientist who was the first scientist to show that washing synthetic clothing is the cause of large quantities of plastic microfibers in the environment.  They established that microplastics are ubiquitous, but there has been no or hardly any research into the question of whether they are also present in drinking water.

That was the direct reason for the study in which half-liter samples of water were taken from different continents and analyzed by an American university. Microfibers were found in more than 80% of the samples, 159 in total. An alarming result.

One of the main causes is synthetic clothing. Has there been any response from clothing brands to the study? “The microfibers probably come from clothing, but that is not what we researched.”  Tyree answers, “Clothing brands have not yet responded to our findings. They are all aware of the problem, but they have taken an extremely passive and defensive stand.”

What should governments do in the light of the study’s findings? “We hope that countries and organizations look into this very seriously.”  Tyree explains, “Every day we create huge amounts of plastic waste, which we are dumping on the next generations. The longer we wait before taking measures and implementing solutions, the more harmful the effects will be.”

What is your response to the findings of the study? “The results are shocking.”  Tyree says, “We travelled the world for this study. I have seen how much plastic is used daily by people everywhere. Microplastics are in the water, in the air and in the soil. To be honest an outcome like this was to be expected.”