New Delhi: Humans without intention may be swallowing approximately five gms of plastic every week, which is equal the weight of one credit card, a study has revealed.
The research, which was conducted by University of Newcastle in Australia, was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and is the first to combine data from over 50 studies on the ingestion of microplastic by people.
It suggested that people are consuming about 2,000 tiny pieces of plastic every week — amounting to about 21 gms a month, just over 250 gms a year.
The study highlights the urgent need to address the plastic menace so that it does not pollute ecosystems in the first place.
“These findings must serve as a wake-up call to governments. 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,” Marco Lambertini, WWF International Director General, said.
The study demonstrated a wide range in ingestion patterns. While being mindful of the limitations of this evolving field of research, initial findings point towards a global average ingestion rate of plastic by humans of approximately five gms per week.
The single largest source of plastic ingestion is through water, both bottled and tap, all over the world.
The study findings demonstrate that the problem of plastic pollution is a universal one and directly affecting people.
Leakage of plastic into our environment and food chain has been met so far with an inadequate global response by governments.
“While the awareness of microplastics and their impact on the environment is increasing, this study has helped to provide an accurate calculation of ingestion rates for the first time,” Thava Palanisami, a microplastics researcher at the University of Newcastle, said.