In an article published on August 2, 2016 by the Epoch Times, journalist Peter Svab reports on the issue of plastic ocean pollution and its potential impacts on the environment and human health. In short, Svab summarizes: Fish feed on tiny pieces of plastic (mircoplastics) in the ocean, mistaking them for food, and humans then eat the fish. Plastics contain hazardous chemicals such as heavy metals, bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7), and phthalates that can leach out of the polymers and lead to adverse health effects. Microplastics also absorb other chemical pollutants from the ocean such as pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT, CAS 50-29-3). According to Richard Thompson, professor of marine biology at Plymouth University, UK, the direct harm of microplastics to human health is not yet known and since people are exposed to various factors in the environment, “isolating the effect of plastic on its own, let alone microplastic, is going to be almost impossible.” However, the already known effects on wildlife and ecosystems may hint at the impacts on people, stated Charles Rolsky, researcher at the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Environmental Security at Arizona State University, U.S.. Studies have shown that fish and other marine animals feeding on microplastics become malnourished and reproduce less or not at all (FPF reported).
According to a report by the Ellen McArthur Foundation, the World Economic Forum, and McKinsey & Company (FPF reported), solutions to the microplastics problem should focus on plastic packaging, which makes up a major share of all plastic produced and of the pollution, and most of which is single-use.
Peter Svab (August 2, 2016). “How tiny pieces of plastic in our oceans are ‘terrifying.’” Epoch Times