Global Warning: Microplastics

According to The Guardian, the world buys one million plastic bottles every minute of every single day.

Is this sustainable? Of course, it is not!

It is not new to read about climate change in the newspaper, to hear that the poles are getting warmer or even to hear how tornados and tsunamis are becoming more and more frequent. What really surprised me was to learn that microplastics have been found in human stools for the first time!

What the heck? Where are these plastics coming from? 

The answer: our oceans. 

In this study, plastics were found in participants from Japan, Russia and Europe. Researchers estimate that “More than 50% of the world population might have microplastics in their stools.”  This is highly alarming!

In another documentary I witnessed how scientists took a sample of the apparently crystal-clear water of the ocean. After water filtration, microplastics were clearly distinguished, although initially they were not visible. 

What Are Microplastics?

They include beads found in personal hygiene products, synthetic fibres and broken-down plastic waste. They are known to harm marine life, which mistake them for food and they can be consumed by humans too via seafood, tap water or other food. The microplastics never dissolve and stay in the ocean for centuries. Plastic can constantly be broken down into smaller pieces, but will always remain there. 

Measures to palliate this situation are urgently needed. As we know, some countries have banned plastic bags and the European parliament has reached an agreement:

Single-use plastic products should be banned by 2020. Some examples of these products are plastic straws which can turn into microplastics as they break down. 

We all should face the music and stop turning a blind eye. This problem concerns all of us and we should all contribute to the well-known but rarely applied three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. It is the only way to conserve our wondrous planet.

Belén Piñero García

Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Molina de Segura