Microplastics in sea salt pose threat to humans

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Plastic products used in daily life like shampoo,cosmetics sachets end up as microplastics.

During his research, 15 to 25 particles of microplastics per kilogram of popular salt brands were found.

Kochi: The discarded plastic and microplastics drained into oceans pose serious threat to human health. The common salt obtained from sea water contains microplastics in alarming quantities which enter human body causing serious health hazards, according to experts.

“Imminent threat to human health because of the micro-plastic in common salt is a big challenge,” said Dr E. Ramaswamy, Head of Department of School of Environmental Sciences, Mahatma Gandhi University whose research findings on plastic in salt has been published in an international journal.

While presenting paper on ‘Microplastic pollution a serious threat to aquatic eco system’ during the seminar organised as curtain raiser of Swasraya Bharat – Kerala Science Fest 2019 at Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology, Puthuvype recently he said that four to six percent of municipal solid waste is plastic which gets drained into the rivers and ocean during heavy monsoon rains.

During his research, 15 to 25 particles of microplastics per kilogram of popular salt brands were found. On an average a humanbeing consumes three kilograms of salt per annum and the amount of plastic reach human bodies is not negligible.

The plastic products used in day to day life like shampoo and cosmetics sachets end up as microplastics which has less than size the size of 5 mm. Subsequently, these are consumed by different pelagic organisms and enter the food chain.

Dr Gautam Sen, former ONGC scientist¬† spoke on ‘The Chemistry of Plastic Waste’. “We are not handing plastic with adequate precautions. We have made tremendous development in technology using plastic and manufactured nine billion tonnes out of which seven billion tonnes became waste. Majority of the waste is going into the landfills but 8 to 12 million tonnes end up in oceans per annum,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr V Kripa, scientist of Centre for Marine Fisheries Research Institute, while addressing the issue of ‘Impact of litter on Marine Ecosystems’ said that plastic might overtake the quantity of marine fisheries resources . “Currently, there is 150 million tonnes of plastic in oceans while the quantity of fish is 850 million tonnes,” she said.


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