I was excited to read about North Stonington’s Invention Convention (Westerly Sun, Jan. 25) and how students are using their creativity and knowledge of science to solve everyday problems and improve efficiencies in the products we use in our daily lives. This made me wonder whether one of these bright students could solve a problem that is having a terrible impact on the planet.
Microfibers, made of synthetic yarns, such as nylon or polyester, are a fact of life today, found in everything from clothing, such as Polartec, to all sorts of cleaning products — dish cloths, mops and dusters, especially the popular Swiffer products. Many of these items get discarded after use, others get washed, shedding tons of micro particles in the process. Either way, whether dumped in a landfill or cleaned in the washing machine, the micro particles work their way into our water system, where we and other animals ingest these minute but harmful fragments.
What can be done? Can the particles be filtered out and, if so, what use might be found for this waste? Even if everyone were to stop making and using microfibers, what can be done with the products we have?
I look forward to reading about the next round of student creativity for the spark they ignite in our imaginations, but also for the possible betterment of our world.