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Salt samples from PHL tested for microplastics: Is it already in our food?


In a recent feature by the National Geographic, an aerial shot of the Pasig River is seen. The view is disheartening, as barely any water is visible in the shot.

It's a river of garbage and it's mostly plastic, which does not decay. Instead, it disintegrates into smaller and smaller pieces and turns into "microplastics." 

An episode of "Born to Be Wild" reports of an alarming study done by researchers from France, UK, and Malaysia, which shows that the salt we eat is contaminated with microplastic. 

The researchers took 17 samples from eight countries — Australia, Japan, Portugal, France, Malaysia, Iran, New Zealand, and South Africa — and 16 of these salt samples tested positive for microplastic. 

In their paper, "The presence of microplastics in commercial salts from different countries", the conclusion drawn is that the effects of microplastics in salt is currently "negligible", but "increasing trend of plastic use and disposal might lead to the gradual accumulation of microplastics in the oceans and lakes and, therefore, in products from the aquatic environments."

"Born to Be Wild" tapped microplastic expert Dr. Jose Isagani Janairo to conduct an initial experiment on salt samples from the Philippines and although the results must be interpreted with caution, it is still disconcerting. 

Four samples were taken to the laboratory: salt from the sea dried on land, washed salt, salt cooked for six hours, and salt from the market.

All four samples tested positive for microplastic. 

Dr. Janairo reiterated that this is just an initial test and that it must be studied further and replicated. Nonetheless, he also stressed that, "Kailangan nating pag-ibayuhin ang pangagalaga sa karagatan."

 

For James and Mitchie Jimenez, a little effort goes a long way. The two have adapted a "zero-waste lifestyle" that follows the 5Rs — Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot.

Apart from segregation, they find replacements for single-use items like straws and even diapers for their kids and they make an effort to bring reusable cutlery and containers for eating out and doing their groceries. 

Read more about the zero-waste lifestyle: There’s no ‘failing’ in going zero waste. — AT, GMA News

Tags: salt, health, plastic
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