Hudson river
"Boy Jumping into Hudson River" (1948) by Ruth Orkin. Orkin was a photogrpaher, filmmaker, and late additon to the New York Photo League. Best known for international work like "American Girl in Italy" (1951), she said that "being a photographer is making people look at what I want them to look at." Jewish Museum/REUTERS

You may not think of your clothes as pollutants, but tiny plastic fibers from textiles are among the biggest contributor to water pollution in recent times.

A study published by the Marine Pollution Bulletin said the Hudson River in New York pumps out around 300 million microfibers into the Atlantic Ocean every day.

These microfibers are a nagging problem and something which seemingly has no solution.

An extensive study conducted by ecologist Mark Browne in 2011 revealed that 85 percent of all the man made material found on shorelines of 18 sites across the world were microfibers. This was analyzed and found to be nylon or acrylic from clothes. By collecting samples from domestic run-off from washing machines, It was estimated that around 1,900 such plastic fibers were found in the water from washing one synthetic item of clothing. This goes directly into our oceans.

The Marine Pollution Bulletin surveyed the entire 315 mile shoreline of the Hudson river for microfibers. The findings revealed that every sample of slightly more than a liter had microfibers in them. On an average 233 microfibers were found in the 142 samples collected.

Researchers estimate that there is about one microfiber per liter of water in the Hudson. Nearly 50 percent of these fibers are plastic and the rest are wool or other synthetic fiber.

The domestic run-off problem is found to be worse when old clothes are washed. The everyday 300 million microfibers could add up pretty fast. As the density increases there is no way to stop marine life from consuming it. Both the freshwater and the saltwater sources are affected and there is no endgame in sight.

Just catching the microfibers at plants where water is treated is not going to be a viable solution. Workers will end up piling sludgy piles of microfibers, which in turn will end up in the ocean or in the ground as landfill, ending up either way in our food cycle.

The one microfibre per liter may not seeming like an alarming amount, but that could all change in a few years as the rate of contamination shows no sign of ebbing. The end products of alternative ways of plastic disposal also end up in the ocean.

Just making the plastic smaller and into less visible chunks does not mean it exits our ecosystem. The effects are just delayed and over time fish will not be edible in the U.S. Though there is no immediate concern, this study by Chelsea M Rochman says that microfibers have already entered our food chain.

The study also stated that this plastic debris is known to cause problems in the gastrointestinal tract in the human body. They cause lacerations and inflammation eventually leading to cell necrosis.

The next step would be to study the effects of these microfibers on human and animal health. Details on this would be essential for analyzing and zoning in on a solution.

With no temporary or permanent fix in sight, our water bodies continue to be the eventual grave for human waste. Most of us know of the dreadful reality the planet is in and the grim future it is facing. The ban on microbeads used in cosmetic by former President Barack Obama was one step. There needs to be a coherent plan in place for sustenance efforts to kick in and hopefully slow down this avalanche.