Microplastics May Be Invading Soil and Rivers Via Compost

Sadly, the presence of microplastics – from degraded garbage to cosmetic microbeads – in our oceans has become a fact of life at this point. But recent research reveals that microplastics threaten our terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems as well.

Aside from inflicting significant ecological damage, microplastics harm human health when ingested — whether from seafood or other meat products. Gather around the dinner table, loved ones, and spoon up some carcinogenic plastic garbage.

A recent — and distressing — study published in “Science” shows that microplastics are entering terrestrial ecosystems by hitching a ride with our compost. And this finding is related to ocean pollution, given that rivers serve as a major pathway for microplastics discarded on land to reach marine ecosystems.

This research is particularly concerning, as it suggests that plastic waste has become so pervasive in every environment that it may now be impossible to avoid.

Plastic, particularly in its “micro” form, is a traveler. It can catch the wind and fly great distances in the air, move over land, float down rivers or ride on great ocean currents. The material is small enough to permeate single-celled organisms — and this may even be part of our eventual salvation. Plastic appears in every food web, and it is only becoming more concentrated and harmful over time.

If there is a silver lining here, it may be that plastic has become such a universal problem that people in every nation, at every income level, from every political and philosophical background have a vested interest in doing something about it. Not many issues are non-partisan these days, but a desire to not eat plastic is surely one of them.

That said, this worsening problem remains relatively invisible, even though the total permeation of plastic waste in our environment is anything but slow.

We need to go cold-turkey on plastic, and quick, before every inch of land, ocean and fresh water is choked with this material. Considering that there was a time when we didn’t make everything from plastic, it shouldn’t be that difficult — especially with the technology to develop plastic alternatives.

Photo Credit: Paula May/Unsplash

44 comments

Marie W
Marie W6 months ago

Thank you for posting.

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KimJ M
KimJ M11 months ago

tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M11 months ago

tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M11 months ago

tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M11 months ago

tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M11 months ago

The damn stuff is getting everywhere :-(

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Rosslyn O
Rosslyn Oabout a year ago

I helped a friend spread her newly delivered compost around her yard after the truck delivered it. I was shocked to see how much plastic was shredded into it. Lord knows what else was in the stuff that I was not able to see!

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Winn A
Winn Adamsabout a year ago

Thanks

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Julie B
Julie Babout a year ago

If the companies stop using and supplying plastics etc. We as consumers will not be buying into it, as majority DO NOT want plastics in all its many forms. Alternatives are available given a little creative thoughts to improving. Shall we All share our ideas :) Thank you

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Julie B
Julie Babout a year ago

It appears that the problems we see re: plastic in water compost landfills. Becomes a serious problem be4 we are told ~ realise ~ take action. By then it's panic stations as the clock needs to be turned back. So we need to have 4 ward thinking and planning. Iam sure many people agree with this too. Interesting to read some positive ideas we can all work upon :)

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