Microplastics: small plastics, big problemPosted on June 17, 2018 by DrRossH in Plastic Limiting Regulations, Plastic Waste News
Now, here’s where it gets scarier… While the studies about the effects of microplastics are still at a relatively early stage, initial researches published by UNEP and in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) have discovered that eating plastic particles may cause reduced activity rates, reproductive disruption, weakened schooling behaviour, and altered feeding behaviour among sea creatures. How does this affect humans?
According to the One Health approach, the health of all living things (humans, animals and plants) and everything that surrounds us are interconnected. If something is wrong with the animals and plants around us, then something is likely to go wrong with us, unless we do something about it.
“Microplastic may not only affect species at the organism level; they may also have the capacity to modify population structure with potential impacts on ecosystem dynamics, including bacteria and viruses. Negative effects on the photosynthesis of primary producers and on the growth of secondary producers, potentially result in a reduced productivity of the whole ecosystem and represent a primary concern,” according to a report by the joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP).
“Our understanding of the fate and toxicity of microplastics in humans constitutes a major knowledge gap that deserves special attention,” it adds.
So, if we ignore this issue now, it is probable that the ‘plastic soup’ will no longer be metaphorical in the next 20 or 50 years. It will be a reality ‒ and one at a scale we simply can’t ignore.
Approx half of microplastics come from single use disposable plastics used by consumers. This is the easiest plastic to stop. Small changes of habits are only required.