by Lorenzo Colli
Have you ever wondered what taste credit cards have? No? Well… you don’t need to, you eat one of them every week! According to a recent study by the University of Newcastle, Australia, every seven days we can eat up to 2000 tiny plastic particles (the fearsome microplastics), which are the equivalent of about 5 grams, the weight of a credit card.
Microplastics, however, aren’t something to joke about as they represent an increasingly worrying problem. Indeed, we can find them in every aspect of our reality, and when I say “every”, I really mean it. Typically, when we think about microplastics, we tend to “isolate” them mainly in seas and oceans, but the harsh reality is that they can be found even in soil and all the aspects related to it. According to a 2019 WWF report, microplastics are even present in rain, snow and also millennial rocks.
If soils and oceans are contaminated by this calamity, then we necessarily pay the consequences in a way that is more direct than it could seem. As I mentioned above, microplastics are now very present in our diet. One of the most diet-influencing facts is that plastic traces have been found in plankton, the base of the marine food chain. Since plankton is a sort of “universal food” in sea depths, it will indirectly end up in our dishes. Unfortunately though, it isn’t the only plastic source: for example, it has been demonstrated by the State University of New York in Fredonia, that honey, beer, kitchen salt and tap water also contain these particles.
In conclusion, even though we realise how surprisingly wide the diffusion of this problem is, we cannot throw in the towel, but we have to believe in the new potential solutions our scientific progress offers. We have to believe in progress, in science, but we must also do something ourselves. Joining an environmental organisation might not be a bad idea!
- OnuItalia.com, “FAO e AIEA insieme per combattere flagello delle microplastiche (anche nel cibo)”, 5 July 2021;
- WWF, “Sempre più plastica nella nostra dieta”, by Lucio Biancatelli, 13 June 2021.
- WWF, “La plastica è ovunque, anche in rocce, pioggia e neve”, by, Giulia Ciarlariello, 2 July 2020;
- Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition, “Aiuto, c’è una microplastica nel mio piatto!”, 6 July 2021.