Sea salt around the world has been contaminated by plastic pollution, adding to experts’ fears that microplastics are becoming ubiquitous in the environment and finding their way into the food chain via the salt in our diets ... Some researchers...now believe sea salt could be more vulnerable to plastic contamination because of how it is made, through a process of dehydration of sea water.
A growing body of research has established the presence of microscopic plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, freshwater, soil and air. This study is the first, however, to show plastic contamination in tap water from sources around the world ... The contamination defies geography and income: The number of fibers found in a tap water sample from a washroom sink at the Trump Grill was equal to that found in samples from Quito, Ecuador.
Scientists...in Belgium recently calculated people who eat seafood ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic every year. Last August, the results of a study...reported plastic was found in a third of UK-caught fish, including cod, haddock, mackerel and shellfish. Last year, the European Food Safety Authority called for urgent research, citing increasing concern for human health and food safety “given the potential for microplastic pollution in edible tissues of commercial fish”.
Now, for the first time, researchers have published a sweeping, public, and in-depth accounting of all plastic that has ever been made in the entire world. The number is so big as to defy human comprehension: 8,300 million metric tons since 1950. Of this, 6,400 million metric tons has outlived its usefulness and become waste; 79 percent of that waste is sitting in landfills or the natural environment, 12 percent has been incinerated, and just 9 percent has been recycled.
One of the biggest constituents of rubbish dumps is polyethylene... When they put wax-moth caterpillars onto the sort of film it had taken Nocardia asteroides half a year to deal with, they found that holes appeared in it within 40 minutes ... it has yet to be established whether the caterpillars gain nutritional value from the plastics they eat, as well as If the droppings produced by eating plastic turn out to be toxic
Bangladesh was the first country in the world to ban certain types of thin plastic bags in 2002, after they were found to have choked the nation’s drainage systems during a series of devastating floods. China instituted a similar ban in 2008, and also prohibits businesses from giving out thicker plastic bags to customers for free. Other nations, including South Africa and Italy, have also enacted similar restrictions.
scientists came to understand that these bigger bits—the bottles and the fishing lines—made up less than half the problem. Ocean plastics were not inert, they realized, nor did they disintegrate and disperse as harmless water dust. Rather, they broke down into tiny pieces of plastic confetti that could soak up toxins and then make their way into the food chain. In other words, the floating coffee cans and old balloons were less of a threat than expansive clouds of plastic micro-garbage.
In 2014, the world produced 343 million tons of plastic, and roughly 9 million tons of new plastic end up in the ocean every year..The issue of marine debris is not just one of toxic shoreline pollution, but a problem of ingested chemicals that remain from decomposing plastics. Smaller animals eat them, and they "bioaccumulate." As larger fish eat smaller fish, the chemicals, such as phthalates, move up the food chain with them.
data show that in cities that have imposed the fee people quickly get used to it.... Washington, D.C., has had a sixty-some-per-cent decrease of bags in the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers since it imposed a five-cent fee ... In 2008, China banned plastic bags thinner than .025 millimetres. The law resulted in a reduction of bag use in China by forty billion bags a year: that’s 40,000,000,000 bags. Mexico City has a bag ordinance. Certain plastic bags are banned in Uganda and in the city of Mumbai
Researchers have found a bacterium in the debris fields around a recycling plant in Japan that can feed off a common type of plastic used in clothing, plastic bottles and food packaging ... Certain species of fungi have been found to be able to degrade plastics before, though none have been converted to landfill-munching purposes. The polymer chomper offers new hope...because bacteria are easier to work with and engineer.