Plastic, 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the seas
But are we really doing plastic indigestion from the sea? It is the first thought that comes to mind when we see immense islands of plastic floating in the midst of the oceans or we are horrified in front of beaches covered not only with algae but with mountains of plastic consumption left guilty at the mercy of the currents. It is absolutely normal to think so since most human waste is discharged into the oceans and of this almost 85% are microplastics. Material that creeps into the fish and shellfish we eat. But how much plastic floats in the sea? According to the latest research, they would be more of 5 trillion pieces that float in the waters of seas and oceans. An immense amount of waste which, if added together, would reach a record weight of 269 thousand tons.
Plastic, an unprecedented global disaster
In this ecological and food disaster, the only consolation is that, normally, the fish is gutted before consumption, except for mussels, clams, anchovies or sardines that are eaten whole. To want to listen the European Food Safety Authority there would be concern as the data would indicate that seven micrograms of microplastic could be hidden in a plate of mussels weighing a couple of ounces. Nanoplastics have also been found in drinking water, in cooking salt, in beer also because they also spread in the air and fall back to the ground. A polluting mix that seems to guarantee us no less than five grams of ingested plastic per week. Fortunately for us, however, another major food safety body, the Spanish one, underlined that “there is no uniformity in the various data and therefore it is not possible, at the moment, to assess with certainty how many harmful effects could be had in our organism”. A Sapea study, certified by European institutes, confirmed that “there is currently no evidence linking increases in diseases linked to ingested microplastics”.
Plastic, dumping it in the sea is a growing trend
Logic, however, requires us not to be too calm also because many experts agree that the trend of dumping plastic in the seas and eating fish will continue. The only consequence is that we will continue to ingest plastic. Plastic that reaches us from all over. Fortunately for us, the European rules, for over 10 years, have provided for the so-called “specific migration limit”, that is the number of pieces of plastic that can be detached from an object in contact with food, without endangering health. Rules that all packages should have. But the other side of the coin tells us that plastic is a strong, light, economical product capable of guaranteeing safety on perishable foods like no other.
Plastic, for the moment no alternative that exceeds 100% plastic
No product, be it cardboard, bamboo or glass, has the same qualities as plastic. Many observers now confirm and despite continuing research, there is no better element when it comes to food packaging. A gigantic business as 40% of the plastic produced is used for packaging, especially for food and drinks. Certainly some progress has been made in the study of biodegradable plastic and already you can find very light disposable plastic bags made with vegetable fiber bases. Down now you can find packaging that can be 100% disposed of. The wish for us and for our planet is that these products become more and more widely consumed and our beautiful, beloved but damn eternal plastic step aside and become only an element to enrich museums of the history of human life.
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