School of Architecture, Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment

Student: Georgina Annenberg
Leonel Lima Ponce, Ira Stern

Microfibers are textile-derived, tiny specks, and one of the biggest sources of microplastic pollution in the ocean. Microfibers have infiltrated our water bodies and made their way up the food chain, threatening aquatic ecosystems and potentially human health. Research on microfibers is emergent, so the full range of effects is not known, but long term exposure to plastic is unlikely to be healthy. Possible upstream and downstream solutions need to be explored so that microfiber pollution can be mitigated, regulated and eventually eliminated, if possible.


Downstream microfiber solutions, like filtration at washing machines, can serve as an intermediary fix. Upstream solutions, like moving away from fossil-fuel derived textiles, likely provide long term resolution. Solutions are likely to be complex and will require careful planning. New legislation and cooperation from consumers, washing machine producers and fashion brands are vital to achieve change.



Microfibers, tiny fibers (<5mm) that shed from synthetic clothing are released in the hundred thousands every time we wash our clothes.


Microfibers have infiltrated rivers, lakes, dams and ultimately the oceans. They make their way up the food chain and can threaten aquatic ecosystems and potentially human health.


Microfibers make their way through our water systems, entering through washing machines and eventually entering our water bodies.


Various regulations have been proposed and adopted to regulate microfiber pollution around the world, and can serve as examples for NYC and NY State.


Link to student documentation.