The Microfiber Catcher Team

In Fall of 2016, the Microfiber Team, Jamie Farrell, Carter Cortazzi, and Lola Bushnell, created a two pronged plan to tackle the problem of microfiber pollution in the waterways around the globe. The first prong involved water and sediment testing in DC's Potomac in various locations around the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant in order to prove local relevance. The second prong involved prototyping a garment bag to protect the wash cycle from the contents of the bag. Since the Fall of 2016, they have completed both prongs of their project and also launched a campaign to bring more attention to the issue of microfiber pollution.

Read their in National Geographic, outlining the results of the local testing: http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/…/putting-d-c-s-waste…/

Visit their website to learn more about the issue: https://www.fiberfilter.org/

Join them in calling out all washing machine companies that need to be at the forefront of finding a solution: https://blog.vonwong.com/toxiclaundry/

 

More about Microfiber Pollution and the Microfiber Catcher Team

Jamie, Carter, and Lola have demonstrated interest in sustainability and conservation: Lola studies Government and Environmental Studies. Carter is a spear fisherman who is passionate about fish conservation and human/ocean interactions. Jamie studies Environmental Biology and tackles sustainability issues on-campus through GREEN and GUSA’s Sustainability Policy Team. They came together in a class taught by Dr. Slakey at Georgetown University to tackle an environmental problem that they soon learned was more pervasive than they could have ever imagined. ability Policy Team.

Waterways are increasingly polluted by microfibers from synthetic garments (especially fleece garments). Although pollution by larger microbeads have received overwhelming attention, recent studies suggest that one of the biggest plastic pollution problems facing our ocean is microfiber. Some 250,000 fibers or 1.7 grams of microfiber enter waterways each time we wash a fleece garment. Furthermore, microfibers are more dangerous than microbeads due to their higher surface area-volume ratio which allows more pollutants to attach to them.

New York City, alone, could have 6.8 billion microfibers flowing into its harbor every day. While there is little research into microfiber pollution, it very obviously poses a huge risk to aquatic environments. Studies show that young fish are most at risk of ingesting these fibers. The result is two fold: fish can suffer premature deaths and bioaccumulation can travel all the way up the food chain and pose serious risk to larger animals, or even humans.