Marine microfiber pollution: A review on present status and future challenges

Mar Pollut Bull. 2019 Mar;140:188-197. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.01.039. Epub 2019 Jan 25.


Microfibers are emerging pollutants with widespread distribution in the environment and have adverse ecological impacts. Approximately 2 million tonnes of microfibers are released into the ocean every year from various sources, of which 700,000 micro fleeces are released from each garment through domestic laundry. Microfibers are the major marine pollutant throughout the world estimating 13 million tonnes of coastal synthetic fabric waste entering the ocean each year, out of which 2.5 million tonnes enter through adjoining rivers. It is anticipated that, to date, 1.5 million trillion of microfibers are present in the ocean. Microfibers are mistakenly ingested by marine animals and cause hazardous effects to aquatic species. Microfiber treatment techniques are under progress for efficient control of this pollutant. This article focuses on global microfiber generation and its sources, pathway of its entry into the environment and food chain, potential threat to aquatic animals and humans, present treatment technologies, and future challenges.

Keywords: Generation; Health hazards; Microfibers; Pollution; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquatic Organisms / metabolism
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Food Chain
  • Humans
  • Plastics / analysis
  • Textiles / analysis*
  • Waste Products / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Plastics
  • Waste Products
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical