Hello, welcome to NeoScribe.
There are many benefits to plastic.
It’s light, moldable, strong, and inexpensive.
And it’s the perfect material in many cases, such as its uses in sterile medical environments like hospitals.
But I have a problem with microplastics, and you should too.
Microplastics are pieces of plastic that are less than 5 millimeters long and are remnants of larger plastic debris that are broken down by erosion and sunlight into increasingly smaller pieces.
And scientists are starting to discover that they’re invading much more than our oceans and sea life.
A study was done in South Korea, scientists sampled 39 brands of table salt from around the world and found microplastics in 36 of them.
Recent studies into water contamination have found microplastics in 83% of tap water samples from major cities around the world and in 93% of samples from the world’s top 11 bottled water brands.
The most shocking study I came across was done by the University of Plymouth which reveals that a large source of microplastic pollution comes from our laundry.
You see, synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester are forms of plastic and each time they are washed, they released hundreds of thousands of microfibers into the environment.
Based on these results, researchers estimate that the average adult consumes 32,000 pieces of microplastic per year.
And this takes us to a study done by the Medical University of Vienna, which is where things get a bit gross.
Researchers tested stool samples of participants from around the world including Finland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and the UK
The study found that EVERY sample tested positive for the presence of microplastic, and up to nine different plastic types were identified.
This discovery is still new, so the health effects of microplastics consumption are unknown at this time.
It appears that microplastics are all around us, and inside us.
But how did we get here?
In 1869 John Hyatt invented the first synthetic polymer in search for a substitute for ivory.
By WWII, plastics played a major role in military supply chains and the US government-funded $1billion to private companies to construct synthetics plants in cities across the country to keep up with the demand.
Since then, global plastic production has exploded from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to over 448 million tons today.
Around half of the plastic ever produced has been manufactured in the past 15 years.
And of that 448 tons of plastic, around 40% is produced for disposable use such as product packaging, plastic bags, and water bottles.
And every year, over 8 BILLION kilograms of the plastic end in the world’s ocean.
At that rate, over 4 garbage trucks full of plastic will have made its way to the ocean by the end of this video.
Some of the more durable plastic ends up to 1 of 5 plastic accumulation zones, the largest being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The Pacific Garbage Patch is located halfway between California and Hawaii and is estimated to be 1.6 million kilometers which are 3 times the size of France.
There’s an estimated 80,000 tons of plastic floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch alone, which is the equivalent to the weight of 500 jumbo jets.
Once plastic debris makes it to these patches, they remain there until they degrade into smaller microplastics under the effects of sun, waves and marine life.
The plastics will remain in the oceans for hundreds of years until it degrades into smaller and smaller pieces.
So, this a monumental problem, a global problem and it won’t be easy to find a solution.
It will take leadership and commitment from governments and industries.
But the first step is awareness.
There is a lot more information out there on this issue, please don’t stop with this video.
Because the future is going to be fantastic, and we should ALL be healthy for it.
Alright, that’s all I have for now.
I hope you enjoyed your journey, if you did, please leave a like and subscribe.
I am NeoScribe and I’ll see you on the next journey.