The analysis “Nature without plastic: assessment of human ingestion of plastics present in nature“, prepared by Dalberg, based on a study commissioned by WWF and carried out by the University of Newcastle, Australia, suggests that people are consuming around 2,000 small pieces of plastic every week. That works out to roughly 21 grams a month, just over 250 grams a year.
The University of Newcastle is the first to combine information from more than 50 studies on plastic ingestion in humans. The results are an important advance in understanding the impact of plastic pollution on people. It also confirms, once again, the urgent need to address a plastic management system in order not to pollute ecosystems.
While the research is based on the possible negative effects of plastic on human health, it is clear that it is a global problem that can only be solved by addressing the source: plastic pollution. If we don’t want plastic in our bodies, we have to stop the millions of tons of this material that continue to leak into nature every year.
Urgent action is needed
To attack this crisis, we need to take urgent action at the government, business and consumer levels, and establish an agreement with global goals to tackle plastic pollution. Support with your signature the “NATURE WITHOUT PLASTICS” campaign where we ask for this Global Agreement.
The study showed a wide range in ingestion patterns. Considering the limitations of this still evolving field of research, initial results pointed to an average global human ingestion rate of plastic of approximately 5 grams per week – the largest source of plastic ingestion anywhere the world is water, both bottled and tap.
Large regional variations are reflected, for example, in the United States or India, which double the amount of plastic in water compared to Europe or Indonesia.Of the consumable products studied, those with the highest record of plastic levels are seafood, beer and salt
y support to low-income countries to expand their waste management capacity.
Ingestion is just one aspect of the plastics crisis
Plastic pollution is a great threat to wildlife. Plastic pollution also has damaging economic consequences, with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimating its annual impact on the marine economy at US $ 8 billion.
Some facts about plastic pollution, for reflection:
• Total CO2 emissions from the life cycle of plastic are expected to increase by 50%, while the increase in CO2 from plastic incineration will triple by 2030, due to decisions that have not yet achieved a correct waste management.
• Eight million tons of pollution end up in the sea every year.
• Another 104 million metric tons of plastic is at risk of entering our ecosystems by 2030 if our focus is not drastically changed.
• Since 2000, the world has produced the same amount of plastic as in all previous years, of which a third pollutes nature. It has been documented that more than 270 species have suffered from being entangled, while more than 240 species have ingested plastic.