The average person swallows a credit card's worth of plastic every week

Every week, the average person swallows about five grams of plastic, according to a new Australian study. Small particles make their way into food, beverages and even the air we breathe.

June 23, 2019 13:57
1 minute read.
 PLASTIC BOTTLE floats in the Mediterranean Sea, at Zikim beach near Ashkelon

PLASTIC BOTTLE floats in the Mediterranean Sea, at Zikim beach near Ashkelon. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)


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Every week, the average person swallows approximately five grams of plastic, which is the weight of a credit card, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Newcastle in Australia.

The amount of plastic consumed amounts to about 2,000 tiny pieces of plastic every week, which is approximately 20 grams a month, just over 250 grams a year.

The origin of the plastic we consume comes from tiny particles that make their way into the food we eat, the drinks we drink, and even the air we breathe.

The study was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), whose director general, Marco Lambertini, commented saying that: “These findings must serve as a wake-up call to governments. Not only are plastics polluting our oceans and waterways and killing marine life - it’s in all of us and we can’t escape consuming plastics. Global action is urgent and essential to tackling this crisis.”

According to the study, the largest source of plastic ingestion is through water, both bottled and tap. Variations in the research show that the amount of plastic found in the US and India was twice as much as that found in European or Indonesian waters.

The objects carrying the highest amount of plastic particles recorded are shellfish, beer and salt.

“This is a worldwide problem that can only be solved by addressing the root cause of plastic pollution. In order to tackle the plastic crisis, we need urgent action at government, business and consumer levels, and a global treaty with global targets to address plastic pollution,” Lambertini added.

Recently, the Israeli cities of Eilat and Herzliya implemented new municipal bylaws aiming to turn the tide on plastic waste by banning all disposable plastic products on local beaches.

Earlier this month, Canada announced its plan to ban many single-use plastic items by 2021, including bags, straws, cutlery and stirring sticks. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was quoted as saying that this is "a problem we simply can't ignore."

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