Plastic invasion: the plastic inside us

Plastic bottle recycling

Plastic is the most enduring, insidious, and intimate product in the world. From the soles of your shoes to the contact lenses in your eyes, the phone in your pocket to the food in your refrigerator, the evidence is unmistakable: we are living in the plastic age.

Plastic frees us, improving daily life in almost uncountable ways. And plastic imprisons us in waste and microscopic pollution.

Plastic, once regarded as convenient and versatile, has actually become one of the biggest environmental problems of our time. It’s easy to see the extend of the contamination when you visit the oceanside. Even the most remote beaches are often littered with plastic debris. Now, new evidence reveals the problem of plastic pollution hits much closer to home. Microplastics, invisible to the human eye, are present in our drinking water, and as a result are polluting our bodies.

An investigation commissioned by Orb Media revealed that microplastics were present in 83 percent of drinking water samples. The study encompassed more than a dozen countries, including the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Lebanon, Indonesia, Equator, and India.

If plastic fibers are in your water, experts say they’re surely in your food as well — baby formula, pasta, soups, and sauces, whether from the kitchen or the grocery. Plastic fibers may leaven your pizza crust, and a forthcoming study says it’s likely in the craft beer you’ll drink to chase the pepperoni down.

It gets worse. Plastic is all but indestructible, meaning plastic waste doesn’t biodegrade; rather, it only breaks down into smaller pieces of itself, even down to particles in nanometer scale — one-one thousandth of one-one thousandth of a millimeter.

We can all participate in making a difference. This includes buying less plastic and switching to reusable and biodegradable products. There are so many eco-friendly options now, from biodegradable plastic bags to disposable cutlery, and even toothbrushes. You have a choice to support these types of eco-friendly companies, just as we support organic farmers and sustainable food producers.

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