Human Plastic Consumption

The University of Newcastle, Australia, was recently commissioned by the WWF to analyse plastic ingestion.

The result of the study was particularly frightening, suggesting that people are consuming about 2000 tiny pieces of plastic every week. To give everyone a relative measure they equated this to about the weight of a credit card each week, which is just over 250 grams a year.

The largest source of plastic ingestion was found to be through water, both bottled and tap, all over the world.  An earlier study by Orb Media had previously found that plastic bottled water contains about 50% more microplastics than tap water.

The study also found that there were also large regional variations, for example, there was twice as much plastic found in the US than in European water. Of the consumables studied, the highest recorded plastic levels were within shellfish, beer and salt. 

Marco Lambertini, WWF International Director General reflected on the findings, “While research is investigating potential negative effects of plastic on human health, we are all clear that this is a worldwide problem that can only be solved by addressing the root cause of plastic pollution. If we don’t want plastic in our bodies, we need to stop the millions of tons of plastic that continue leaking into nature every year. In order to tackle the plastic crisis, we need urgent action at government, business and consumer levels, and a global treaty with global targets to address plastic pollution.” 

Further reading from the study: No Plastic in Nature: Assessing Plastic Ingestion from Nature to People can be found here.

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