Fibrous microplastics (FMP) are ubiquitous around the world, from land to oceans and from surface waters to sediments. Ingestion and toxic effects of FMPs have been demonstrated in organisms. It is believed that FMPs released from synthetic fabrics during laundering are a major source that contributes to the current overall pollution of the environment with microplastics (MPs). Given the rapid growth of the synthetic textile market and the continued emission of FMPs, the aim of this review is to introduce measures to reduce FMP emissions to the environment. In order to achieve this goal, we summarize existing data and findings on FMPs in order to a) the definition of FMPs, b) the FMP release during textile washing and influencing factors and c) the FMP retention in sewage treatment plants (ARA) in different treatment stages and subsequent emission into water. Based on the available data, we estimate that the annual release of FMP from synthetic textile laundry is in the range of 50.6 – 1180 kg per 100,000 inhabitants. Such a release could lead to a total emission of 2.53 – 59 kg FMP / year via the discharges from sewage treatment plants (for 100,000 inhabitants) into the receiving waters, if an efficiency of the disposal of the sewage treatment plant of 95% is assumed. To this end, proactive solutions and proposals are explored to avoid and reduce the release and emission of FMP, taking into account reduction, reuse, recycling and end-of-pipe strategies.


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