How much plastic in your diet!
News reports keep telling us about how much plastic there is in the world and how it has become one of this planet’s largest and most pressing environmental concerns, but have you ever wondered how much of this plastic, once broken down into microscopic pieces ends up in your food and drink? Scientists have worked it out and it is truly shocking: Each of us are eating up to a credit card’s worth of plastic each week!
Microplastics have been discovered in some of the most remote and inaccessible areas of the planet including the depths of the Arctic ocean and these are consumed by fish and other animals which in turn end up in our diets.
For the first time scientists have worked out exactly how much of this microplastic we consume, and they have compiled a list against a timeframe to show just how much it is:
According to the WWF study, an average person potentially consumes 1,769 particles of plastic per week from water alone.
The study also found that 182 particles are consumed through shellfish, 11 from salt and 10 from beer per week – reaching a total of 1,972.
In a month we’re consuming 21 grams of plastic, about the same weight as five casino dice and enough shredded plastic to fill a rice bowl halfway.
While this may not sound like much, this plastic is adding up over time, and science is still yet to establish the effect of ingesting micro and nano-sized plastic on human health.
Per 6 months
In six months, we consume 125 grams of plastic flakes – equivalent to an entire bowl full of your favourite cereal.
In the space of one year our plastic intake reaches a total of 250 grams.
That’s a heaped dinner plate’s worth of shredded plastic – similar to a hungry person’s Christmas lunch last week.
At this rate of consumption, we could be eating 2.5kg in plastic in the space of a decade, which is about the same as a standard life buoy.
The ocean will contain 1 metric ton of plastic for every 3 metric tons of fish by 2025, according to WWF estimates.
At the current rate of 1,972 particles ingested per week, this equates to more than 8 million particles over the course of 79 years.
This is about 20kg over an average lifetime of 79 years – enough to fill up two recycling bins.