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Washing one polyester shirt creates 700,000 microfibres which eventually enter the sea. Here they are ingested, along with feed, by all manner of lifeforms including a wide variety of crustaceans. A study at Exeter University sampling blue mussels around the coast of the UK has yet to find ones that do not contain plastics. As these fibres have no nutritional value they are slowly killing the marine life that ingest them.

There are also studies measuring their effects on larger filter feeders such as whales, sharks and rays which suggest that these creatures are increasingly at risk from micro plastics. It is thought that plastics inhibit their filter mechanisms and may breakdown conveying toxins into their digestive system.