With the continuous integration of plastic products into our lives, the harm it brings to nature is becoming increasingly serious, especially the harm caused by plastic particles. Even in the depths of the ocean, the Arctic ice, the most remote parts of the planet, tiny plastic fragments have been found.
Plastic particles refer to plastic particles with a diameter of less than 5 mm. Researchers have discovered that these plastic particles are entering our bodies through drinking water and marine life. WWF has synthesized more than 50 studies on the intake of plastic particles and published a research report.
According to research, an average person may consume 1,769 plastic particles per week through drinking water. The study also found that 182 plastic particles ingested by people each week came from shellfish, 11 from salt and 10 from beer, for a total of 1972.
Although this doesn’t sound like much, most of the plastic particles are excreted by us. But over time, some plastic particles will accumulate in the body, and scientists are not sure about the impact of plastic particles on human health. “What we know is that we are ingesting plastic particles, and they are potentially toxic. This is something that we are very worried about,” said scientists involved in WWF research.
The production of plastic products has surged in the past 50 years, which has led to the widespread use of cheap disposable plastic products. Plastic products bring convenience to human beings and also have devastating effects on the environment, such as polluting beaches and endangering the survival of marine animals. Plastic is not biodegradable but will break down into smaller pieces or particles, and eventually, they will penetrate every corner of the world, and the food chain is not immune.
Researchers say that some of the plastic particles are even derived from the air we breathe, especially in urban environments. The air can carry various pollutants from the surrounding environment, such as molecules in coal and tar.
According to WWF estimates, by 2025, every 3 tons of fish in the ocean will contain 1 ton of plastic. 75% of the plastic produced by mankind has become garbage, and 87% of improperly handled garbage has flowed into nature, causing serious pollution.
WWF warns that this is only an estimate based on current research and that if government intervention and global cooperation are achieved, the situation could be better, but it could also get worse.
According to this report, Reuters revealed in the quantitative form how much plastic we would eat at different times.
The pictures below show how much plastic we inadvertently consume in our daily lives.
Every week, we consume nearly 2000 plastic particles, weighing about 5 grams, which is equivalent to the weight of credit cards and plastic bottle caps. According to Reuters, these plastic particles are enough to fill a ceramic soup spoon.
In a month, we will consume about 21 grams of plastic particles, which is equivalent to the weight of 5 dice, and these plastic particles are enough to fill half a rice bowl.
6 -month intake
Our half-year intake of plastic particles is about 125 grams, which is roughly equivalent to a bowl of your favorite cereal.
In a year, we can reach 250 grams of plastic. This is equivalent to a large plate of plastic shards, which is equivalent to the lunch size of many people (a normal person’s lunch intake is between 250 and 400 grams).
If calculated at such an intake rate, we could eat 2.5 kg of plastic in ten years, which is equivalent to a standard lifebuoy.
Calculating at a lifespan of 79 years per person and consuming 1972 particles per week, each person would consume more than 8 million plastic particles in their lifetime. This weighs about 20 kilograms, enough to fill two garbage collection bins.
Crisis urgently requires global collaboration
A “Prohibition on the Use of Plastics” report released by scientists in June this year called on governments to reach a legally binding international convention to prevent plastic pollution from entering the ocean.
The WWF International Director-General said the findings should serve as a wake-up call for governments. He said in a statement: “Plastics not only pollute our oceans and waterways, but also kill marine life. Now we all cannot do without plastics. Global action is the key to responding to this crisis.
Note: To visualize the amount of plastic ingested at different time periods, the researchers collected polypropylene and high-density polyethylene and shredded them. Reuters then weighed the plastic with an electronic scale, referring to WWF estimates.