A new analysis found the average person may be consuming about 5 grams of plastic -- or the equivalent of a credit card -- per week.
The study by the University of Newcastle, Australia, and the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) stated a person’s consumption of plastic depending on their habits. The university conducted 52 studies and found a trend that some food and beverages contain microplastics.
The figure of the report stated an average person consumed about 1,769 particles of plastic each week just from drinking water. Meanwhile, microplastics was found in shellfish, beer and salt. That means a person would be consuming more than 250 grams of plastic per year.
“All samples were found to contain plastic in a study on bottled water, which used a limited sample of locations around the world,” the report stated.
The WWF said in a statement the reason people may be ingesting microplastics was because millions of tons of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans each year. Earlier this year, nearly every country in the world agreed upon a legally binding framework to reduce the pollution from waste. Though the U.S. did not sign on, individual states have taken the initiative to ban plastic bags from stores.
It’s not immediately clear if there are any long-term effects after a person ingests large amounts of microplastics. However, the analysis stated studies were underway to determine what the effects were.
The WWF called on governments worldwide to take action and support more research on the effects of plastic and microplastics in nature, calling it a crisis.
“The current global approach to addressing the plastic crisis is failing,” the report stated. “Governments play a key role to ensure all actors in the plastic system are held accountable for the true cost of plastic pollution to nature and people.”
The WWF has called on people to sign its petition calling for a treaty on the plastic pollution in the ocean.