Microplastics in Taiwan’s surrounding seas posing health risks: report

Taipei-The international environmental group Greenpeace published Tuesday its first report on the presence of microplastics in the seas surrounding Taiwan, which revealed dangerous concentrations of plastics in the water that could pose a threat to food safety.

According to Yen Ning (??), head of Greenpeace Taiwan's clean oceans initiative, the group set up a total of 18 locations off Taiwan's coastline, divided between the northern area off the coast of Keelung and the southwestern area off the coast of Kaohsiung, and gathered water samples from these areas.

At one spot off the Keelung coast, 409 pieces of microplastics were collected in one instance, or as Yen described it, the equivalent of having 788,000 pieces of plastic in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Given the high density of microplastics in the oceans, it is no surprise that many sea creatures, including fish and shrimps, are mistaking the debris as food and consuming them.

Humans who end up eating the seafood are then at risk of consuming plastics and having them build up in their systems.

Yen urged the government to conduct more comprehensive research in the surrounding seas and to investigate whether the seafood consumed in Taiwan is contaminated.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace is urging people to use less plastic, given that most of the plastic found on beaches are plastic bottles, bottle caps, straws, plastic bags and plastic cups.

Faced with increased plastic pollution, Taiwan implemented new rules that went into effect Jan. 1, such as a ban on free plastic shopping bags offered at a number of businesses.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel