Living life currently without purchasing a package in plastic is impossible for the majority of the world. Our society has been built around the ease and ability to utilize plastic whenever possible but we have to find an alternative for the sake of the planets future as well as our own.
To make this change, first and foremost, we need to find an alternative that is cheap and biodegradable. While researchers across the world are working to identify a product and have made serious progress, we also need our politicians to place bans on plastic packaging. To accomplish this, we need to make sure they understand all the consequences of plastic.
Given that, scientists from Flinders University and The University of Newcastle in Australia have detailed how opening a plastic bag or ripping open a plastic soda bottle can sprinkle small amounts of micro plastics into the environment. While this is just a small amount, microplastics are often consumed by living things, particularly in the ocean, adding to the growing problem of plastic pollution.
The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports, where they examined the number of micro plastics that were released by opening different types of plastic packaging using multiple methods.
Methods of opening varied from cutting with a scissors to tearing open the packaging. In all circumstances, microplastic pollution was released.
The researchers found that 10 to 30 nanogram of micro plastics could be shed for every 118 inches of plastic during cutting, tearing or twisting. The micro plastics consisted of fibers, fragments, and triangles.
Very little is known about the impact microplastis have on human health as the there has been very little research done but it something we need to be aware of.
Ingested microplastic have the potential to physically damage organs and leach hazardous chemicals that can compromise immune function and stymie growth and reproduction. Both microplastics and these chemicals may accumulate up the food chain, potentially impacting whole ecosystems, including the health of soils in which we grow our food. Microplastics in the water we drink and the air we breathe can also hit humans directly.