So much plastic! And how much we eat!

Fried fish

Do we need more evidence to understand that we must act now to reduce plastic waste? Here they are.

As we have already seen (read here and here), the plastic that reaches the seas has a strong negative impact on ecosystems. In addition, plastic returns to us in the form of microplastics that we ingest.

Plastic in the Atlantic: at least 10 times more than thought[1]

Estimates made so far assumed the presence of about 17 million tons of plastic in the Atlantic Ocean.

A new study has measured the concentration of plastic up to 200 meters deep in the Atlantic Ocean. Assuming that the concentration of plastic, throughout the Atlantic is the same as that measured at this depth, scientists estimate that there are about 200 million tons: more than 10 times what has been assumed so far.

Plastic in the catch: traces of plastic in all seafood analyzed[2]

All plastics commonly used in plastic packaging and synthetic fabrics, such as polystyrene and polyethylene, are often found in marine waste.

A team of Australian researchers analyzed oysters, shrimps, squids, crabs and sardines found in a local market. The study found plastic levels of 0.04 mg per gram of tissue in squid, 0.07 mg in shrimps, 0.1 mg in oysters, 0.3 mg in crabs and 2.9 mg in sardines.

In addition, studies conducted to date show that microplastics enter our diet not only from seafood, but also from bottled water, sea salt and other foods, as well as dust that is deposited on our meals.

We consume plastics every day and we are not yet implementing decisive measures to reduce and break down this problem.

Uncertain future

If we do not take immediate decisions and measures, the mismanagement of plastics will lead to worse and worse repercussions on ecosystems and our health.

 

Is this the future we want?

 

[1] Katsiaryna Pabortsava, Richard S. Lampitt. High concentrations of plastic hidden beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. Nature Communications, 2020; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17932-9

[2] Francisca Ribeiro, Elvis D. Okoffo, Jake W. O’Brien, Sarah Fraissinet-Tachet, Stacey O’Brien, Michael Gallen, Saer Samanipour, Sarit Kaserzon, Jochen F. Mueller, Tamara Galloway, Kevin V. Thomas. Quantitative Analysis of Selected Plastics in High-Commercial-Value Australian Seafood by Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry. Environmental Science & Technology, 2020; 54 (15): 9408 DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c02337

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