In new research from Hull, they have revealed very high levels of micro plastics and other man-made debris in mussels caught around the UK coast and sold in supermarkets.
Not only were the levels of plastic high, but every sample of the bivalve molluscs that was tested by the University of Hull scientists found plastic inside of the animal. The study concluded that for every 100g of mussels consumed, you are likely to shallow an estimated 70 pieces of tiny plastic.
Professor Jeanette Rotchell, an environmental science professor at the University, told Hull, “It is becoming increasingly evident that global contamination of the marine environment by microplastic is impacting wildlife and its entry into the food chain is providing a pathway for the waste that we dispose of to be returned to us through our diet.”
“This study provides further evidence of this route of exposure and we now need to understand the possible implications of digesting these very small levels. Continued research will hopefully drive effective human risk assessment. Chances are that these have no implications, but, nonetheless, there is not enough data out there to say there is no risk. We still need to do the studies and show that is the case.
“There is currently regulation of some contaminants in food. In the long term, regulatory solutions to this problem will also be needed.”
To perform the research, samples of mussels were collected from eight locations around the UK’s coastline between November 2016 and February 2017, as well as eight more unnamed supermarkets, representing eight different brands.
In the mussels itself, micro plastics made up around half of the contaminated material. Other materials found in the animals were rayon and cotton. Mussels are especially susceptible to plastic as they feed by filtering seawater through their bodies and ingest micro plastics and other debris with their food.
The world is slowly being awakened to the alarming state of plastic pollution that is currently occurring on our planet.
The oceans are facing a tremendous problem right now in fighting plastic in the ocean. At the current pace, plastic in the ocean is expected to outweigh fish by 2050 and that will only increase exponentially if there is not a plan put in place.
The best bet, stop using plastics. More countries around the World have started to ban plastics in some form but not enough is being done. You can make an immediate impact by choosing items that are not made out of plastic and re-use it if you have no other choice but purchasing plastic.