Research shows the amount of plastic that ends up in the food we eat
When sitting down for a nice bit of fish, you'd like to think that you know what you're getting, right? I mean, what else is there to it? It's just a fish. But sadly, due to how wasteful we are as a species, and down to our determination to destroy the planet as quickly as we feasibly can, your fish might actually have a secret ingredient to it: plastic.
I know that it might sound mental, and obviously you're not pulling a coke bottle out of your trout, but microplastics are causing major harm to our oceans and marine wildlife. According to the US' National Ocean Service, ocean microplastics are "small plastic pieces less than five millimetres long which can be harmful to our ocean and aquatic life."
These little bits of destruction come in a variety of different forms but are mostly found in cosmetics, cleaning products and even toothpaste (not too sure why we're cleaning our teeth with plastic...)
While the full extent of the impact microplastics are having on marine life is unknown, it seems highly likely that they are doing a lot more bad than good to our sealife. Researched conducted by Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revealed that at least 24 species of fish, molluscs, birds, crustaceans and mammals can be badly affected when they consume microplastic particles.
Like everything in life, there is obviously a cycle to all of this, and the honest truth is that these microplastics more than likely end up on our plate and in our mouths. If a fish is swallowing microplastics and then you are eating that fish, then you're also chowing down on it as well.
The effects that plastic can have on marine life is a hotly discussed subject, with Louisa Casson, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, commenting on the situation:
"Once plastic is in the ocean it can cause all kinds of harm to marine life. Studies have shown that 90% of seabirds and one in three turtles have eaten plastic. The big bits, like bottles, bags and packaging, can choke and entangle marine life. Then over time these big pieces break down into microplastics - tiny pieces which can be eaten by creatures big and small, clogging their guts, spreading toxic chemicals, and entering every level of the food chain.
"Even if you're someone who's not too fussed about what happens to marine life, this stuff is starting to find its way onto our plates in seafood. If you ate a plate of oysters, you're likely to have consumed around 50 pieces of microplastics. Scientists are urgently trying to figure out what kind of impact that could be having on human health."
Orb, a media company who focus on the environment, found that microplastics are contaminating tap water in many countries, however they still aren't sure how they got there. The US had a shocking 94 percent contamination rate, while the UK was a little lower with 72 per cent.
Essentially, too many of us are treating our toilets like bins, leading to their being huge amount of pollution in the sea and oceans. It's estimated that around 80 per cent of plastic in the sea originates from land-based sources. We are slowly destroying our planet and we need to curb our attitude towards waste quickly, before it's too late.