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Our Blue Denim Jeans Have Reached the Arctic as Research Find Microfibres in Remote Water Bodies

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

Each time a pair of denim jeans is swirled in the washing machine, around 50,000 microscopic fibres, or microfibres, are shed from it.

How far do you think the traces of human consumption have reached? A new study says that minuscule fibres from blue denim jeans have been found in the remote Arctic. Who thought bits of our favourite piece of clothing would end up in the remotest parts of the Earth!

Each time a pair of denim jeans is swirled in the washing machine, around 50,000 microscopic fibres, or microfibres, are shed from it. The microfibres are filtered out in sewage treatment plants, but many of them still creep their way out into larger waterbodies like rivers, lakes and oceans, The Independent said in a report.

A research published in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science & Technology Letters says that indigo denim accounted for 20 per cent of all microfibres in sediments from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, which falls south of Greenland. The indigo denim also comprised 23 per cent of microfibres in sediments from the Great Lakes and 12 per cent of those in shallow lakes near Toronto, Canada.

Techniques of microscopy and Raman spectroscopy were employed to ascertain the amount of indigo denim microfibres in samples collected from various waterbodies.

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Denim jeans is the most popular clothing if the world. The study found that at any moment nearly 50% of the world is wearing blue jeans or other denim clothing. Brands even suggest washing them just once a month. But research suggests the regimen is seldom followed and people wash their favourite clothing more vigorously.

As the indigo denim fibres make up almost a quarter of microfibres in the Great Lakes in and around the Canada-US border and a fifth of clothing fragments in the the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, this also poses a threat to the aquatic life. The microfibres can be ingested by the fish causing threat to their life. Microfibres are and added menace for the marine life as it already grapples with plastic pollution.