Our decades-long addiction to plastic packaging has come at a heavy price. One third of the fish caught off the coast of South West England are thought to contain pieces of plastic. Toxic plastic debris has become a permanent fixture in our food chain, with little attention paid to the potentially devastating effects on our environment and human health.
Toxic debris from plastic packaging kills approximately a million seabirds and more than 100,000 marine mammals each year. The rapid proliferation of plastic products over the past 70 years has led us to the point where more than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in our oceans each year. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation forecasts that there will be more plastic than fish in global seas by 2050.
A study published earlier this year revealed that European seafood eaters ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic every year. Yet despite a wealth of damning evidence, the impact of plastic on human health is often overlooked. A UN report in 2016 warned that people who consume plastic-contaminated fish may be exposed to chemicals that can cause poisoning, infertility, and genetic disruption.
Our food chain is set to become even less secure as more plastic waste is dumped in the oceans in…