Unfortunately, new findings acquired by a WWF report show that the average individual consumes 5 grams of plastic on a weekly basis or the equivalent of a credit card.
The researchers point out that people consume up to 102,000 pieces of plastic that are smaller than one millimeter which is 250 grams per year. 90 percent comes from bottled and tap water.
Other foods that have high levels of plastic are beer, salt, and shellfish.
We Are Full of Plastics?
According to the head of marine policy at WWF, Alec Taylor, plastic is polluting planet Earth and the deepest ocean trenches, but now, we’ve also discovered that it also pollutes our bodies too through what we eat and drink.
This report needs to wake up the UK government because as Taylor explains, we don’t want plastic in our oceans and in our plates.
Plastic is very ubiquitous in nature and it has been found at the bottom of the Mariana trench, in the ice from Arctic sea, as well as in the remote peaks of the Pyrenees.
These new numbers were collected by researchers from the University of Newcastle, Australia who analyzed more than 50 studies on people ingesting plastic.
It was concluded that on a global level, the average person eats up to 1,769 particles of plastic every week from water, 182 from shellfish, 11 from salt, and 10 from beer.
Sadly, in Europe, approximately 72 percent of tap water has plastic with almost two plastic fibres per 500 ml.
Time Need for Common Material Decomposition
Plastic bag- 20 to 1000 years
Plastic bottle- 450 years
Polystyrene cup- 50 years
Plastic paper cup- 30 years
Glass bottle- 1,000,000 years
Disposable nappies- 450 years
Aluminum can- 80 to 200 years
Cigarette butt- 1 to 5 years
Paper towel- 2 to 4 weeks
Thava Palanisami, a microplastics researcher from the Newcastle University, notes that even though there is growing awareness about the negative influence of microplastics on our surroundings, this study also provided calculation of ingestion for the first time.
The researchers add that creating a method for transformation of microplastics particles into masses can be of aid to find the possible toxicological risk for people.
Even though the effects of plastic ingestion on our bodies aren’t known, there are studies that have found mild inflammation of the respiratory tract beyond a specific level of exposure.
What’s more, there are those types of plastics with chemicals and additives that can have a negative influence on sexual function, fertility, and lead to genetic mutations and cancer.
Animals are also affected by plastic pollution and they’re getting entangled in debris and ingest big amounts they can’t pass through their digestive systems and are at higher risk of digestive blockages and even death.