Microplastics in the sea a growing threat to human health, United Nations warns

More than a quarter of fish in markets in Indonesia and California contain plastic particles


Millions of tons of tiny debris from plastic bags, bottles and clothes in the world’s oceans present a serious threat to human health and marine ecosystems.

This is the stark warning issued by the United Nations in a report on the most dangerous environmental problems facing the world today.

Global plastic production has increased dramatically in recent years. Between 2004 and 2014, the amount of plastic produced rose by 38 per cent, the report said.

And poor waste disposal means when we have finished with our takeaway containers, cigarette butts and party balloons, they are worn down into trillions of ever-smaller particles by the waves.

There is a growing presence of these microplastics, particles of under 5mm in length, in the world’s oceans.

In 2010, between 4.8 million and 12.7 million tons of plastic was washed into the seas and has since shown up in the stomachs of whales, plankton and other marine life.

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