Microplastics are entering our food chain
Something you have might experienced before on the beach; just as you planted your feet in the sand you start to feel little pieces of plastic between your toes. This is actually a substantial part of marine litter, you can’t see it but you can feel it. A recent scientific study found that every kilogram of European sand contained on average 250 microplastics: fragments smaller than 5 mm. There are even traces of significantly smaller plastic fragments, called nanoplastics. Ironically, these tiny bits of plastic cause the greatest problems. All different types and sizes of plastic form the plastic soup. The world’s ever increasing use of plastics has created large areas of floating plastic waste in rivers and oceans and many of these plastics break down into smaller fragments. Our demand for plastic does not only have devastating consequences for the oceans, but marine wildlife is also affected by plastic pollution. It appears that fish tend to mistake the scent of plastic for food and ingest it on purpose. Because the vast majority of plastics is not biodegradable, let alone (bio)degradable, it will remain in the environment for a long time. Through various ways, for example by eating fish and shellfish, these small fragments of plastic have entered our food chain and our bodies.