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…

CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Inxeba movie star receives death threats over film

Inxeba movie star receives death threats over film

The film brings to light the complex relationship between traditional patriarchy and LGBTQ identity.

71 000 parents have not yet responded to offers of school placement says GDE

71 000 parents have not yet responded to offers of school placement says GDE

The Gauteng Department of Education is pleading with parents to accept placements to avoid further delays in the system.

Vodacom customers fuming over disappearing data and airtime

Vodacom customers fuming over disappearing data and airtime

Vodacom has come under fire after its subscribers complained about their data and airtime disappearing without a trace.

Where does your money for plastic shopping bags go?

Where does your money for plastic shopping bags go?

Government started charging for plastic shopping bags to minimise pollution and start recycling companies, but is this happening?

Curbing plastic pollution by making it more difficult to buy plastic bags

Curbing plastic pollution by making it more difficult to buy plastic bags

Mark Gordon, Deputy Director-General for Chemicals and Waste Management in the Department of Environmental Affairs, describes how plastic pollution is being addressed in the country.

How are unborn babies affected by polluted air?

How are unborn babies affected by polluted air?

Researchers have found that exposure to pollution during pregnancy could have negative effects to childrens' brain development.

Popular articles
An expert guide on 'hotwifing' and 'cuckolding' in the bedroom

An expert guide on 'hotwifing' and 'cuckolding' in the bedroom

Clinical sexologist Dr Eve shares insights into sexual fetishes and how partners negotiate them in their bedroom and relationship.

[Watch] John Maytham shuts down victim shamer on air

[Watch] John Maytham shuts down victim shamer on air

A caller wanted to know what the alleged victim had done in order for Grace Mugabe to assault her.

Cape officials to harvest 500 million litres of new water a day

Cape officials to harvest 500 million litres of new water a day

Mayor of Cape Town speaks to CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies about plans to provide more water amidst the ongoing drought.

LISTEN:  Reformed car hijacker sheds light on hijacking underworld

LISTEN: Reformed car hijacker sheds light on hijacking underworld

This reformed car hijacker was convicted for hijacking, robbery and murder and served almost 16 years jail time. Hear his story.

Journos walk out of Bathabile Dlamini's briefing after 2 hour wait

Journos walk out of Bathabile Dlamini's briefing after 2 hour wait

EWN's Gia Nicolaides says journalists walked out of the media briefing on social grants after waiting for hours for her to arrive.

3 emergency numbers you should have on speed dial and how they work

3 emergency numbers you should have on speed dial and how they work

These are the emergency numbers you should have on your cellphone and this is what you must understand about how they work.