Single-use plastics like bags, cups and packaging are the new indicators of our throwaway society. If you have ever been part of a beach cleanup, you know what we are talking about. Plastics are ubiquitous and single-use plastics are now more commonly found in the environment than ever before. The problem is that plastic not only affects a few species of large marine animals like seabirds or turtles, but they also affect the base of the marine food chain, zooplankton. Sooner or later, plastic debris break apart through processes like photodegradation, which results in fragments of plastic, smaller than 5 mm. These are known as microplastics, which can be eaten by zooplankton. Bioaccumulation of microplastics in the food chain has become a major area of concern; the smaller the plastics are, the higher the potential of accumulation in animal tissues. And it has been shown that microplastics are ingested by many species, among which there are some edible ones like mussels, prawns and fish.
Yes, the plastic you throw away can end up back in your home, but this time it’s in your dinner.