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Micro­pla­s­tics — a frigh­tening world map

Do you know how much micro­pla­stic we ingest on average every day? A study by Cornell Univer­sity reveals this for people in 109 count­ries. The figures are indeed shocking: Indo­ne­sians consume around 15 grams of micro­pla­s­tics per month — a global record. Ameri­cans consume around 2.4 grams, while Para­guay has the lowest figure at 0.85 grams. When it comes to inha­ling micro­pla­s­tics, China and Mongolia lead the way with over 2.8 million particles per month. In the USA, the figure is around 300,000 particles.

It is still not comple­tely clear how these micro­pla­s­tics could affect our health. However, micro­pla­stic particles can enter the blood­stream and accu­mu­late in various organs. Chronic dise­ases, inflamm­a­tion and other health problems are possible as a result.

So let’s all hope that the UN Plas­tics Conven­tion planned for the end of 2024 is a success. Even the study empha­sises that micro­pla­stic expo­sure can only be reduced through inter­na­tional cooperation.

By the way: Accor­ding to the EU, the main sources of micro­pla­s­tics are the washing of synthetic clot­hing (35 per cent of primary micro­pla­s­tics) and tyre abra­sion from driving (28 per cent).

Xiang Z et al. Micro­pla­stic Human Dietary Uptake from 1990 to 2018 Grew across 109 Major Deve­lo­ping and Indus­tria­lized Count­ries but Can Be Halved by Plastic Debris Removal. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2024