Seeking the 'plastic score' of the food on our plates

Microplastics: Seeking the 'plastic score' of the food on our plates

13.10.2019

Microplastics: Seeking the 'plastic score' of the food on our plates

Microplastics are everywhere, but how worried should we be? Scientists are on a mission to find out more.

Daniella Hodgson is digging a hole in the sand on a windswept beach as seabirds wheel overhead."Found one," she cries, flinging down her spade.

"We want to see how much plastic the island is potentially getting on its shores - so what is in the sediments there - and what the animals are eating," says Ms Hodgson, a postgraduate researcher at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Lugworm living in the sand in Great Cumbrae, Scotland

Microplastics are generally referred to as plastic smaller than 5mm, or about the size of a sesame seed. There are many unanswered questions about the impact of these tiny bits of plastic, which come from larger plastic debris, cosmetics and clothes. What's not in dispute is just how far microplastics have travelled around the planet in a matter of decades.

The island of Great Cumbrae off Scotland's Ayrshire coast is a favourite haunt of day trippers from nearby cities like Glasgow. A ferry ride away from the town of Largs, it's a retreat for cyclists and walkers, as well as scientists working at the marine station on the island. On a boat trip off the bay to see how plastic samples are collected from the waves, a dolphin joins us for a while and swims alongside.

Even in this remote spot, plastic pollution is visible on the beach. Prof David Morritt who leads the Royal Holloway University research team points out blue twine and bits of plastic bottles that wash up with the seaweed at Kames Bay. Where it's coming from is the"multi-million-dollar question", he says, holding up a piece of blue string.

Read more: BBC News (UK)

Can see them? Not micro.

Italy proposes price cuts on plastic-free food and toiletriesDispenser systems and incentives to give up cars planned under measures to halt environmental damage

How your tights are becoming trendy, and green‘We refer to hosiery as the single-use plastic of the textile industry’ Green tights. Andrew Aguecheek eat your heart out

NHS vows to cut single-use plastic by up to halfLast year the NHS bought 163 million plastic cups, 16 million plastic cutlery pieces, 15 million straws and two million stirrers. Thanks for that little bit of useless information

More than 20 arrested after animal rights activists 'shut down' Billingsgate Fish MarketProtesters attempt to stop traffic entering market at ‘vigil’ for fish killed by food industry This is getting out of hand protesting about climate change is important but it's attracting idiots aswell Great news! Lock the crusties up and give them showers!

How glorious is it to find lost things? The relief gives me the high of a marathon runner | Hannah Jane ParkinsonThen there is finding as discovery – stumbling across something you didn’t know you were seeking

Diners challenged to take on world's biggest plate of nachos with 15k caloriesSo far no one has been able to finish the mega nacho meal at The Smoke Pitt in Northampton in under an hour Coronary on a plate, ambulance on stand by? Whoever eats this will probably already be massively overweight and when it becomes a health risk they'll be in the papers, including the Mirror, demanding NHS fits a gastric band or just as likely suing for not helping them lose weight before their cardiac attack.

Write Comment

Thank you for your comment.
Please try again later.

Latest News

News

13 October 2019, Sunday News

Previous news

Saudi opens to tourists - so what is there to see?

Next news

In an era of minimalism, five families share the heirlooms they've restored
Previous news Next news