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Startling news in the plastic pollution realm for the paradise that is the Maldives. How bad is their garbage problem?
Of course it isn't just islands that are dealing with massive amounts of tiny plastic. Microplastics have been found virtually all over the earth from pole to pole.
The Maldives archipelago in the Indian Ocean includes 1,192 islands. In 1992, the government added one more—an artificial construct that serves as a landfill, where 500 tons of trash are dumped every day.
Most MPs are emitted to the terrestrial environment and accumulate in large amounts in soil. In addition, secondary particles are formed by the degradation of plastics. Wastewater, an important source of water for agricultural irrigation, also contains small-sized MPs.
Despite the prevalence of MPs throughout the environment, the matter of MP uptake by crop plants has not received much attention.
For decades, scientists believed that plastic particles were simply too large to pass through the physical barriers of intact plant tissue. But this new study disproves this assumption.
"Cracks at the emerging sites of new lateral roots of lettuce and wheat crops can take in MPs from the surrounding soil and water. Those MPs can then be transferred from the roots up to the edible parts of the crop," said Prof. Luo.
As awful as this news is we can be a bit hopeful that more and more plastic-free products are coming available. They are as effective and in many cases as cost-effective too!