Plastic at sea: “Every week we eat the equivalent of a plastic credit card”

Plastic at sea enters the food chain, including through agriculture

) – Plastic at sea is a phenomenon of which we are well aware. We know, for example, that in every square kilometre of the Italian seas there are 129,000 floating fragments. Last April, the WWF and the AWI institute presented a report on the presence of microplastics that revealed particularly alarming data regarding the Tyrrhenian Sea, in which you can find 1.9 million fragments per square meter. We also know, in part, what impacts it has on health. The complaint came during the Polieco International Forum on waste economy held in Ischia. “The Mediterranean – said Sylvester Greek, vice president of the Anton Dohrn Zoological Station – is one of the most polluted seas in the world, now microplastics are also in our blood and placenta, which means that every child before birth has microplastics in his body“.

The data of a study by the University of Cagliari show that in every shrimp or shrimp caught in our seas there are 47 plastic fragments: as if every year in the Mediterranean 700 containers were unloaded. The responsibilities are mainly of Egypt, which contributes 32%, Italy, which puts its 15% and then of Turkey, with 10% contribution. This plastic enters our food chain, we ingest 5 grams every week: it is like eating a credit card.

Read also Plastic pollution and ocean acidification: there is a link

Moreover, microplastics enter our diet also through the consumption of agricultural products: “Micro- and nanoplastic pollutants -said Claudia Campanale, researcher at CNR Irsa – are present in particular in soils for intensive agriculture where the practice of mulching is often used, that is, the positioning of sheets to increase agricultural yield but research on microplastics in the terrestrial environment is currently in an embryonic phase”.

However, investigations are blocked by the lack of data, denounced Campanale, for which “studies on the presence of ‘bio-based‘ microplastics in the terrestrial environment and the absorption of chemicals on microplastics of biological origin, are almost totally absent”.

To fill this gap, Polieco and CNR Irsa will carry out a study on the negative impacts on soils and aquatic environments of bioplastic goods used in agriculture.

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