Half of all plastic produced on Earth between 1950 and 2016 has occurred since the year 2000 and the resulting plastic trash is now finding its way into every crevice of the planet—and our bodies.
A new study – carried out by the University of Newcastle in Australia – has revealed that you and I are each consuming about 2,000 tiny pieces of plastic each week, which is equivalent to the weight of one credit card.
The contamination is entering human bodies via eating, swallowing, and even inhaling “microplastics” – particles smaller than five millimeters. These pollutants find their way into our drinking water, food, and the air.
According to the study:
“The single largest source of plastic ingestion is through water, both bottled and tap, all over the world. Large regional variations are reflected again, with twice as much plastic found in the US or India than in European or Indonesian water”
Of the many consumables studied, shellfish, salt and beer, had the highest recorded plastic levels.
The study is the first to combine data from over 50 studies on the ingestion of microplastic by humans.
“These findings must serve as a wake-up call to governments. 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,” said Marco Lambertini, “ said Marco Lambertini of the World Wildlife Fund, which commissioned the study.
WWF is encouraging the public to support a global petition calling for a legally binding treaty on the pollution of plastics that has already received over 500,000 signatures.
Preview image credit: Shelby Clowers