You might be consuming a credit card’s worth of microplastics every week, according to a new study.
Researchers in Australia, commissioned by environmental charity the World Wildlife Fund, combined data from more than 50 bodies on the consumption of microplastics. The results showed a global average ingestion rate of over 2,000 tiny pieces of plastic, or 5 grams, every week. That’s the “equivalent weight of a credit card,” the University of Newscastle found. The ingestion amounts to 21 grams of plastic every month and more than 250 grams annually.
Shellfish, beer and salt recorded some of the highest levels of plastic across “consumables” studied, while water (both bottled and tap) was the largest source of plastic ingestion globally.
“These findings must serve as a wake-up call to governments,” said Marco Lambertini, director general with WWF International. “Not only are plastics polluting our oceans and waterways and killing marine life -- it’s in all of us and we can’t escape consuming plastics.”
A WWF online petition has garnered more than 650,000 signatures calling for a global “legally binding treaty” to end plastic pollution by 2030.
“The findings of the report demonstrate that the problem of plastic pollution is a universal one and directly affecting people,” a University of Newcastle news release read. “Leakage of plastic into our environment and food chain has been met so far with an inadequate global response by governments.”
Another recent study found that North Americans eat, drink and inhale tens of thousands of tiny plastic particles annually.