A CREDIT CARD A WEEK?
On average people could be ingesting around 5 grams of plastic every week, which is the equivalent weight of a credit card. Our study suggests people could be consuming on average over 100,000 microplastics every year. That’s approximately 21 grams a month, just over 250 grams a year.
HOW IS THIS HAPPENING?
Eight million tonnes of plastic pollution ends up in the ocean every year. They break down into tiny bits called microplastics, small enough to enter our food chain, along with other types of microplastics like those that are released when we wash our clothes.
5 GRAMS A WEEK SOUNDS CRAZY. HOW DID YOU CALCULATE THIS?
There have been multiple reports in the media on the microplastics we are ingesting – through our food (shellfish, honey, and salt), our drinks (bottled water, tap water, and beer), and even the air. We worked with the University of Newcastle in Australia to calculate the approximate weight of the average amount of microplastics that these studies demonstrate we are ingesting.
IS THIS DAMAGING TO MY HEALTH?
The truth is, we don’t know. We know that plastics are doing irreparable harm to wildlife, but scientists have only just started looking at what it’s doing to human health. Can we say, categorically, that this is causing impacts on our health? No. Does that mean we can rest easy? Absolutely not. After all, you wouldn’t choose to chow down on an actual credit card, right?
HOW DO WE REALLY SOLVE THIS PROBLEM?
While saying ‘no’ to straws and bringing along a reusable bag are great first steps, which you absolutely must do, it’s governments and business who need to solve this. At WWF we want governments around the world over to sign a global legally binding treaty to streamline how we use and dispose of plastics. Business should play an important role here too – for example, by changing their production and product design models to allow for re-use of plastic rather than immediate disposal.
“Now we know that it's also polluting our own bodies.”