Worldwide

People 'eating a credit card' in plastic each week

People 'eating a credit card' in plastic each week”

So where do we consume the bulk of these plastic particles?

An examination of staples and consumables also revealed that the highest recorded plastic levels were found in shellfish, beer and salt, the organisation said.

This is according to a new study, which found the average person ingest five grams (g) of tiny "microplastics" - or 2000 microplastic particles - which are found predominantly in our food and water.

WWF marine police head Alec Taylor said the report "must serve as a wake-up call" for government, adding: "We don't want plastic in our ocean, and we don't want it on our plates". But there could be large regional variations.

The University of Newcastle study, released on Wednesday, found water in the United States and Lebanon had on average 4.8 and 4.5 fibres per 500 millilitres respectively, compared to 1.9 fibres per 500ml in both Europe and Indonesia.

A separate study this month found that Americans eat, drink and breathe between 74,000 and 121,000 microplastic particles each year, and those who exclusively drink bottled water rather than tap water can add up to 90,000 plastic particles to their yearly total.

Perhaps surprisingly, shellfish were the second most common source of plastic in a person's diet.

Although microplastics have been detected in the air, the study says inhalation accounts for a negligible intake "but may vary heavily depending on the environment".

The study focused on microplastic less than 1mm in size, which are the most commonly ingested contaminants.

What is the health risk? Plastic pollution is a major threat to wildlife, not only through microplastic ingestion but via entanglement and habitat destruction.

He said the next phase of their research will be to better understand the human health impact of ingesting plastics. Microplastics can be considered either primary or secondary, with primary microplastics entering the environment as a microplastic (things like shower gel microbeads or tyre abrasion) and secondary microplastics being plastics that have broken down further into microplastics. "Therefore we need to tackle plastic pollution at its very source [and] stop it from getting into the nature in the first place", she told CNN, stressing that the priority should be reducing plastic production.

In 2016, around 100 million metric tonnes of plastic waste ended up in the natural world.

"If we're going to properly address the throwaway plastic pollution crisis, we need urgent action at government, business and consumer levels to tackle its root causes head on".



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