UN: Microplastics in Agriculture Threatens Human Health health and safety for all mankind, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), published by The Guardian.
To date, more microplastics have accumulated in soil than in oceans, according to the FAO. This is due to the millions of tons of plastic used in the food and agricultural industries. Microplastics (formed when larger pieces of plastic break down) enter the body of humans and animals through food. However, it contains toxic additives that can be deadly and also cause pathogenic diseases. Researchers have found that some marine animals suffer from the use of microplastics, but its effect on other living things, including humans, has not yet been fully understood.
The FAO report recognizes the benefits of plastic for food production and preservation, from irrigation bags to fishing gear and tree fences. However, despite its many benefits, the organization notes that the use of plastic in agriculture also poses a serious risk of contaminating the planet when it accumulates in the environment. “The report is a strong call for decisive action to limit the use of plastics in the agricultural sector,” said FAO Deputy Director General Maria Helena Semedo.
The FAO said microplastics pollution is also a global concern. According to the organization, in 2019, 37.3 million tons of plastic were used in agriculture and animal husbandry to create food packaging. However, only a small part of the plastic in this sector is collected and recycled.
As a solution, the FAO proposes to reduce the use of plastic and increase its reuse and recycling. It is also proposed to introduce agricultural methods that exclude the use of plastic, replace products made from it with natural or degradable materials. Promote the use of reusable plastic products.
A British company previously tried to solve the problem of microplastics. The Polymateria start-up has begun producing planet-friendly plastic that degrades into wax over time. It began to gain traction in Asia as the company struck a deal with supplier giant 7-Eleven in Taiwan and sold its technology to one of the world's largest plastics manufacturers, Formosa Plastics.