Nanoplastics and microplastics are tiny bits of the synthetic material imperceptible to the naked eye. Microplastics are pieces that come off larger pieces of plastic, whether it’s microfibers from clothing or a water bottle wearing down over time. Thanks to their lightweight and small size, they can travel far and wide, including remote places with little human activity.
Now Greenpeace scientists have found microplastics in remote areas of Taiwan, raising concern over its possible impact on the critically endangered species in the area.
Researchers found microplastics in the feces of Formosan black bears, a cherished charismatic megafauna species. Other mammals studied include leopard cats, Formosan sambar deers, Kinmen Eurasian otters, and yellow-throated martens, all critically endangered species. Microplastic was also found in water sources and inside insect larvae, the primary food of the critically endangered Formosan landlocked salmon.
“This latest study shows how widespread plastic pollution is—from our oceans to Arctic sea ice, and now even on land,” said Kate Melges, global plastics lead, Greenpeace USA. “Corporations, especially the biggest plastic polluters such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, and Unilever, must stop packaging items in throwaway plastic packaging and urgently invest in refill and reuse. Governments must hold them accountable by adopting an ambitious, legally-binding global plastics treaty that addresses the full lifecycle of plastic, prioritize a production cap and phasedown on plastic production, and end single-use plastic.”
The full report can be found here.
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