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Indians consuming salt are ingesting microplastics from waste dumped in seas

Traces of microplastics have been found in sea salt samples across the country

Plastic pollution is a significant concern for ocean ecosystems. Although the amount of plastic discarded into the ocean is hard to measure conclusively, estimates reveal that at least 14 million tons of plastic make their way to oceans every year. Without immediate action, the amount of plastic is projected to substantially increase in the next two decades.

The pervasive nature of plastic contamination in the marine world has come into widespread focus in recent times, with the detection of microplastics (plastic particles smaller than 5 mm) in various marine organisms, including fish, mussels, and crustaceans. Now, several studies have detected the presence of microplastics even in Indian sea salts, adding a new layer to the discourse on plastic’s omnipresence in our world.

Although considered virtually indestructible, plastic in the environment does undergo fragmentation due to exposure to ultraviolet radiation and external forces resulting in mechanical and biological degradation, creating smaller plastic particles. Based on the size, these particles are classified as macro, meso and microplastics.

The presence of microplastics has been analyzed in sea salt samples across the country by various research groups, emphasizing the need to rapidly address plastic pollution while keeping a check on marine-derived products.

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