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A plateful of plastic: Visualising the Amount of Microplastic We Eat

Published: December 31, 2019
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Source: Reuters

<i>Image Source: <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregonstateuniversity/21282786668'>Oregon State University</a></i>
Image Source: Oregon State University

 

Microscopic pieces of plastic have been discovered in the most remote locations, from the depths of the ocean to Arctic ice. Another place that plastic is appearing is inside our bodies. We’re breathing microplastic, eating it and drinking plastic-infused water every day.

Plastic does not biodegrade. Instead, it breaks down into smaller pieces, and ultimately ends up everywhere, including in the food chain. Pieces that are less than five millimeters in length, around the size of a sesame seed, are called “microplastics.”

Dozens of reports have been published on microplastics but the scientific community is still only scratching the surface of understanding just how much plastic we consume and how harmful it could be.

People could be ingesting the equivalent of a credit card of plastic a week, a recent study by WWF International concluded, mainly in drinking water but also via sources like shellfish, which tend to be eaten whole so the plastic in their digestive systems is also consumed.

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