Sustainability and environment

Plastic accumulation in fish: Kiddie-me was right!

When I was about 7 years old, I learned a lesson in school about pollution. Basically, the lesson was that pollution in the water is eaten by plankton. The plankton is then eaten by small animals, who are eaten by bigger animals, who are…and so forth. Since the pollution could not be naturally be degraded, each next link in the foodchain would take the sum of all pollution of its prey in their diet. And the end of the food chain? Us…


Accumulation of polution

There was a nice little drawing next to the story, which made it more clear. Sadly, I couldn’t find it, but the image to the right conveys the same message.

For years, my parents tried to battle my refusal to eat anything fish. They failed. Except that I did eat fishsticks. Because for some odd reason, I didn’t really consider that fish.

But, over the years, somehow, I forgot about that lesson. And I started eating fish again. Salmon, tuna, tilapia. I eat it all.

Freaked out

Not strange, then, that I am freaked out to find out that kiddie-me was actually right about now wanting to eat fish. Because that’s what the Telegraph teaches us when it writes:

If current trends continue, by the end of the century people who regularly eat seafood could be consuming 780,000 pieces of plastic a year, absorbing 4,000 of them from their digestive systems.

This pretty bald statement is dereived from a research performed by the University of Ghent (Belgium) . The researches think that this accumulation of micro-plastics in our body could cause health problems. I understand that scientists need to be careful in their wording, but… du-uh! Of course it isn’t good when you put plastic in your cells.

Dr. Colin Jansen: “Now we’ve established that they do enter our body and can stay there for quite a while, we do need to know the fate of the plastics. Where do they go? Are they encapsulated by tissue and forgotten about by the body, or are they causing inflammation or doing other things?

Are chemicals leaching out of these plastics and then causing toxicity? We don’t know and actually we do need to know.”

Plastic Soup the famous unknown


Too much plastic ends up in our oceans

When you come to think of it, it is actually quite strange. We all know about the Plastic Soup problem. We all know about the floating islands of plastic waste in the ocean. Yet, we know hardly anything about the effect on our own health and well-being.

This was actually the first time the topic was seriously researched.

Trend: more and more

And things don’t look like they’re going to improve anytime soon. With already five trillion  pieces of microplastic in the oceans, fish-eaters are bound to ingest a bit more. And the fact that we’re adding about a garbage truck of plastic waste per minute doesn’t help much either.

One garbage truck? By the time we reach 2050, it is estimated we’ll be dumping 4 trucks every minute.

Time to act

So yes, it is time to act. It has been time to act for quite a while already. But what can I do? Well…first of all, I am going to significantly reduce the amount of fish I eat. And secondly: less plastic. Much…less.. plastic…




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