Will The Lettuce Outlast All This? — Global Issues

One-third of all plastic waste ends up in soil or fresh water. Most of this plastic breaks down into particles smaller than 5 mm, called microplastics, and they break down further into nanoparticles. Credit: UN Environment
  • by Baher Kamal (Madrid)
  • Associated Press Service

Now, new facts about such depletion add to what has been reported regarding the anthropogenic, unstoppable dangers of present and future threats to ecosystems. indispensable natural resources.

Here are some of the biggest reasons why the web of life is constantly moving:

first.- Poison

Recently scientific research by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) reveals the following:

Millions of tons of plastic swirling around the world’s oceans have attracted a lot of media attention recently. But plastic pollution poses a bigger threat to the plants and animals – including humans – that depend on the soil.

Very little of the plastic that we throw away every day is recycled or incinerated in waste-to-energy facilities. Much of that ends up in landfills, where it can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, leaching potentially toxic substances into soil and water.

– Researchers in Germany warning that the impact of microplastics in soils, sediments and freshwater can have long-term negative effects on those ecosystems. They say terrestrial microplastic pollution is much higher than marine microplastic pollution – estimated to be between four and 23 times higher, depending on the environment.

– Plastic flakes are present almost everywhere in the world and can cause a variety of side effects.

– One-third of all plastic waste ends up in soil or fresh water. Most of this plastic breaks down into particles smaller than 5 mm, called microplastics, and they break down further into nanoparticles (less than 0.1 micrometer in size). The problem is that these particles are entering the food chain.

2. Wastewater is an important factor in the distribution of microplastics. In fact, between 80% and 90% of the plastic particles found in wastewater, such as from garment fibers, exist in the sludge, the study said.

– Sewage sludge is often applied to fields as fertilizer, which means several thousand tons of microplastics end up in our soil each year. Microplastics can even be found in tap water.

Moreover, the surface of small plastic fragments can carry disease-causing organisms and act as vectors of disease in the environment.

Microplastics can also interact with soil fauna, affecting their health and soil functions. “Earthworms, for example, make their burrows different when microplastics are present in the soil, affecting the health of the earthworms and the condition of the soil,” said one. article in Science Daily about this study.

3.- Toxic

In 2020, the first field study to explore how the presence of microplastics can affect soil fauna was published in the journal Nature. Proceedings of the Royal Society. The paper notes that terrestrial microplastic pollution has led to a decline in subsurface species, such as ticks, larvae and other tiny organisms that maintain soil fertility.

Chlorinated plastics can release harmful chemicals into the surrounding soil, which can then leach into groundwater or other surrounding water sources, and the ecosystem. This can have a wide range of harmful effects for water-drinking species.

– When plastic particles decompose, they acquire new physical and chemical properties, increasing the risk of toxicity to organisms. And the greater the number of species and ecological functions that are likely to be affected, the greater the likelihood of toxic impacts.

– Chemical effects are especially problematic at the decomposition stage. Additives such as phthalates and Bisphenols escape from the plastic particles. These additives are known for their hormonal effects and can disrupt the hormonal systems of vertebrates and invertebrates.

In addition, nano-sized particles can cause inflammation, penetrate cell barriers, and even cross highly selective membranes such as the blood-brain barrier or the placenta. In cells, they can cause changes in gene expression and biochemical reactions, among other things.

4.- Bugs

If all of this is not enough, please be reminded that:

According to the world’s leading food and agriculture organization, up to 40% of food crops are lost every year.

This is affecting both food security and agriculture, the main source of income for vulnerable rural communities, FAO warning occasion International Plant Health Day on May 12, 2022.

– Two main factors, among several others, appear behind the rise of crop pests and diseases. One is that climate change and human activities are altering ecosystems and harming biodiversity, while creating new niches for pests to thrive in.

Another problem is that international travel and trade, which has tripled in numbers over the past decade, is also spreading pests.

– Such pests cause mass crop failures and leave millions without food.

Desert locusts, fall army, fruit fly, banana disease TR4, cassava disease and rusty wheat is one of the most devastating transboundary crop pests and diseases.

5.- Market lords

All of the above is shocking truth should ask some difficult questions.

For example, if food production – and food health – is so threatened, why discard 20% of it all just because they aren’t “nice” enough to sell in the supermarket?

Why do all these specials offer two or even three products while paying only the price of one? Aren’t such marketing techniques the main reason why up to a third of all food is lost and wasted?

By the way: all food grown in soil should be considered biological and ecological in nature. Apart from the sun, all food needs soil, water and air to grow, right?

But the land, water and air are so heavily polluted, why sell them for twice as much just because the market lords consider them biological and ecological?

© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service


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