Eight million tons of garbage end up in the ocean each year. 80% of these wastes are bottles and bags made of plastic materials, which constitute the main threat to marine flora and fauna.
Plastic waste kills one million birds and some 100,000 marine mammals a year and it is estimated that 80% of this pollution comes from land-based activities.
According to data from the association of plastic manufacturers PlasticsEurope, the main applications of this material are:
- 39.9%: Packing or packaging
- 19.7%: Construction
- 8.9%: Automotive sector
- 5.8%: Electricity and electronics
- 3.3%: Agriculture
- 22.4%: Other applications (including household appliances, furniture, sports, health and safety)
Plastic for dinner?
With everything we have read about plastic in the oceans, on the coasts, in the water, in the fish, it seems that there is a question that is inevitable to ask: are we eating plastic?
There are already those who say yes, several studies show it, such as the studies carried out in 2016 by the University of Ghent, in Belgium, the University of Plymouth and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography.
The FAO analyzed the risks of ingesting plastic in contaminated food: microplastics and nanoplastics enter the gastrointestinal tract, and from there a translocation of the intestines to the lymphatic system of the mammals studied (humans, dogs, rabbits and rodents) has been verified. . But the absorption is apparently very small.
It has been shown that the microparticles that reach the lymphatic system are eliminated through the filtration system of the circulation, while the microparticles that lodge in the blood are eliminated by the liver through the bile, and finally expelled with the excrement .
It is very likely that microplastics are not absorbed or come into contact with vital organs. It could be the case with nanoplastics, but the FAO concludes that the data available so far do not allow to deduce that it is a health risk.
With information from: