The Fraunhofer Society, a German research organisation says some 330,000 tonnes of microplastics are entering the environment each year.
According to a study released on Tuesday, researchers said the largest contributor of microplastics – tiny pieces of plastic that do not break down for many years and damage the bodies and tissues that absorb them – is the tyre industry.
Microplastics are released into the environment from the wear and tear of tyres from machines including vehicles, planes, diggers, shovels and bikes.
Other major culprits when it comes to microplastics pollution are sewage treatment plants, aeroplanes and construction sites, the study says.
“We can assume that microplastics already exist in all areas of the environment,” said Leandra Hamann, one of the study’s co-authors. (dpa/NAN)