How it gets in and how to help keep it out (of your body)
Did you know the average human eats a credit card's worth of plastic every week?
Yeeeeah. Every week, through contaminated food and water sources alone, we ingest an estimated 5 grams of plastic particles. That finding in accordance to a report that was funded by University of Newcastle in Australia.
This should be alarming information. Even more so because the main contributor is water - both tap and bottled. Next on the list being beer, salt, and shellfish, none of which contain "plastic" in their list of ingredients, which is a whole other topic.
So how are we taking in so much plastic through these and other items?
The term is "microplastics" which refers to extremely small (microscopic, some might say) pieces of plastic debris found in the environment. They get there as a result of consumer products and industrial waste being disposed of and broken down; getting incorporated into the rest of the ecosystem...which very well includes us humans.
Needless to say, this is a human-created issue. And it's is one that's failing to be solved.
Not only are plastics polluting our oceans and waterways and killing marine life—it’s in all of us and we can’t escape consuming plastics. Global action is urgent and essential to tackling this crisis.” - General Marco Lambertini, International Director of the World Wildlife Federation
Reported findings show that, since 2000, we've produced more plastic worldwide than we had in every single preceding year combined, with a whopping third of that total making its way into the environment. It helps explain why "plastic straw use is such a big deal" and other preventative steps attempting to be taken in order to minimize those overwhelming numbers; in hopes of flattening that curve.
Think this doesn't have an impact on your body, in particular? Think again, Toots, because that's highly unlikely.
An experiment was conducted at the University of Vienna to help gain a sense of just how widespread this impact is. They found 8 people from around the world to participate; people from Europe, Russia, Japan and US included.
Every single sample from every single person included at least one fragment of microplastics in their stool, and on average, 20 small particles of plastic were found per 10 grams of poo. Circle back for size comparison that 5 grams equates to a credit card. Yikes, huh?
Sure, that study only included 8 humans; however, the point of analyzing gathering samples from people from very different geographical areas is simply to assist in drawing a more clear conclusion. Those same scientists, equipped with immense research-gained knowledge, report it's likely that around 90% of the collective have a diet that includes plastic fragments.
What can truly be done to help heal this dilemma? It's easy! ...to say, anyway.
Reduce plastic usage.
It's not brain surgery, right?! However, convincing politicians (and citizens) to acknowledge the severity of the problem can prove to be even more difficult. Some are making it happen, though!
The European Union is working through a full ban on single-use plastics, IKEA as a whole has banned the use of plastic in their cafes and restaurants, both Chile and Kenya have completely banned the use of plastic bags from their entire countries, and Costa Rica is set to be the world's first plastic-free country by 2021.
I'll leave you with the following question:
Why isn't this a prioritized topic of political discussion?
By Sam Jump