On the danger of microplastics and how they may land up on your plate

According to estimates by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), if the dumping of plastic items such as bottles, bags, and cups continues, by 2050 there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish.

Last month UNEP launched the #CleanSeas Campaign to challenge marine litter through reducing the use and production of plastic.

The campaign also aims to eliminate microplastics from cosmetics by 2022.

Microplastics – plastic particles that are smaller than 5mm in length - can be found in toothpaste and washing powder.

And they are harmful, says Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson, a Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Kwazulu- Natal.

Robertson-Andersson shares how these microplastics find their way into the sea, and onto your plate.

We have done some research in Durban’s rivers and on Durban’s beaches and 80% of the micro plastic on Durban beaches comes from our homes.

Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson, Senior Lecturer at UKZN

71% is made up of microfibers Every time you wash plastic clothing in your washing machine, your washing machine actually sheds off the fibers and they go down the drain, through the sewage systems and lands up on the beaches.

Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson, Senior Lecturer at UKZN

The other 9% is from your products like your bath products or toothpaste that end up going down your drain as well.

Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson, Senior Lecturer at UKZN

Statistics worldwide shows that each one of us eats about 20 kg of fish a year.

Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson, Senior Lecturer at UKZN

That means that 10 kg of the fish you are eating has the potential to contain a pollutant.

Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson, Senior Lecturer at UKZN

Listen to the full interview to find out what effects these have on sea life and your body…

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