• Thursday, Dec 03, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:07 am

ED: Stopping the microplastic invasion

  • Published at 10:01 pm October 19th, 2020
Plastic-pandemic-Covid-19-trashed-the-recycling-dream
FILE PHOTO: Reuters

Microplastics are now entering the human body, and we are only beginning to understand the health implications

Plastics are a problem --- we have known this for quite some time. Microplastics are a particularly insidious sub-section of that plastic problem, which we are now facing -- they are hard to detect, and yet, in the long run, could be disastrous for public health.

Microplastics are very small pieces -- less than five millimeters -- of degraded plastic, and they are, alarmingly, being found in the bodies of aquatic creatures. Researchers from Chittagong University and Shahjalal University of Science and Technology recently found microplastics present in five commercially important species of fish. These findings, no doubt, only show a very small part of the invasion of microplastics in our marine life.

Needless to say, microplastics are now entering the human body, and we are only beginning to understand the health implications. Experts say microplastics could cause cancer; plastics, then, are not merely an environmental problem, but a very serious and direct health risk we cannot ignore.

It is high time we took a stand against plastic pollution. We have tried to do so in the past, but the laws never seem to stick. Some 18 years ago, for example, the government had banned plastic production and the sale of polythene bags. In practice, this was short-lived, and people were soon back to using plastic bags across the country.

More importantly, however, there must be stringent laws in place about pollution. Waste disposal is terribly inefficient in Bangladesh, and much of our plastic pollution ends up in the ocean or other water bodies, with dire consequences. 

A proper, sustainable system of reducing, reusing, and recycling has never been in place in Bangladesh, and this is a need we can no longer neglect.

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