Last weekend I went for a walk on the beach and I found waste on it.
Plastic, glass, bags, polystyrene are just some of the materials that I found (and took home).
Plastics are the third most-widely manufactured material (after cement and steel) and they have become widespread in our society.
Plastics has been found in many coastal and marine environments, including subtropical gyres, deep-sea, submarine canyons, water column, beaches, dunes and mangroves. Plastics are so widespread that they are used as an indicator of the Anthropocene age and in particular of the Plasticene age.
To date, the only place of Earth without microplastics was Siberia. Unfortunately, this is not true anymore.
Frank and collaborators measured the abundance of microplastics in the surface water of the Ob River and of the Tom River (Siberia). The average number of particles for the two rivers ranged from 44.2 to 51.2 items/m3 (in Tom River) and from 79.4 to 87.5 μg per m3 (in Ob River), respectively. 93.5% of the microplastics were less than 1 mm in their largest dimension.
Moreover, Malaygina and collaborators, demonstrated the presence of microplastics in the snow fallen over Western Siberia.
Do you want more?
An Italian study by Ragusa and collaborators recently demonstrated the presence of microplastics in human placenta. The study shows that microplastics were present in all placental portions: maternal, fetal and amniochorial membranes. It is a serious issues for human health because microplastics acts as endocrine disruptors and could cause long-term effects on human health.
Microplastics have been detected everywhere, including in commercial sea food and drinking water. Therefore microplastics represent an issue for human food security, food safety and health. Our knowledge of the topic is incomplete and we need more research on toxicity of microplastics for human health.
What are you doing or planning to do to contribute saving our (only) planet?
Antão Barboza et al., “Marine microplastic debris: An emerging issue for food security, food safetyand human health”, (2018), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.05.047
Frank et al., “Preliminary Screening for Microplastic Concentrations in the Surface Water of the Ob and Tom Rivers in Siberia, Russia”, (2021), https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010080
Malygina et al., “Microplastics in the snow cover of the south of Western Siberia”, (2020), https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/611/1/012034
Rangel-Buitrago et al., “Plastic pollution on the Colombian central Caribbean beaches”, (2021), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111837
Ragusa et al., “Plasticenta: First evidence of microplastics in human placenta”, (2020), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.106274