Not such a small problem
Microplastics, usually below 5mm in size, can be released into the environment due to intentional manufacture and addition to products (such as cosmetics, cleaning products and paints) as well as the degradation of larger plastics textiles and tyres.
Receiving lots of media attention after being detected in various water sources, air, food, and the human gut, the lack of understanding surrounding microplastics is causing concern. Their exposure could have adverse effects on aquatic organisms and humans; leading policy makers and a number of countries have already banned the intentional use of microbeads in some cosmetics.
Societal pressures and commitments by national and international bodies are aiming to reduce the impact of plastic waste on the environment. The European Union (EU) have committed to a zero-pollution vision for 2050 that sets out to improve water quality by reducing plastic litter at sea by 50% and microplastics released into the environment by 30%.