When exposed to light, plastics break down into small pieces through a process known as photodegradation. These small bits of plastic known as microplastics Photo by wikicommons

‘By: Nayleen Cortes, age 10

A series of new research released this year reveals the impact that microplastics are having in the world, from oceans and rivers to now even the air because of rain.

When this plastic litter, such as plastic bags, straws or bottles, breaks down, it can enter waterways when it rains or through the wind. There they are consumed by fish—and further up the food chain, those fish can end up on our dinner plates.

Scientists estimate that 236,000 tons of microplastics end up in the ocean every year and take thousands of years to break down.

Scientists say, to address this, we need to reduce the amount of plastics we use. Some small things we can do are recycling, using reusable bags and not buying bottled water.