Wanting to debunk the false myths though-out scientific researches and analyzed data, we will continue our insight on the most common fake news we hear when talking about plastic. In our previous articles ( Plastic fake news – Wrong beliefs – part one) we have focused on so called “greener” than plastics alternatives and on plastics being seen as the cause of our waste problem. In both cases we have understood that replacing plastic would mean to consume more materials and resources and therefore creating a bigger damage to the ecosystem.
Fake news n. 3: Plastics are responsible for litter.
The cause for litter, despite being made of plastic, paper, glass or metals, is the human behavior and the only solution to reach a change in those habits is through education and legislation. The most industrialized and rich countries including Europe produce more plastic than poorer countries, the difference though is to be found in the way litter is processed. The most developed countries, as a fact, introduce in the environment the 2% of the total litter produced worldwide whereas the less developed cover the remaining 98%. Plastic has replaced paper and other materials in many applications thanks to its increasingly diversified use. Nonetheless the visual impact of its existence mistakenly suggests that it is the only material and the one most responsible for environmental pollution. Replacing plastic with degradable materials is not a solution as for many applications it is irreplaceable and necessary.
Fake news n. 4: Microplastics are toxic or release toxins.
There is no believable evidence that microplastics are toxic, surely though they protect us from toxins by absorbing and removing them from sea water. Stating that microplastic are toxic for fish and therefore for us being the last consumers is a wrong belief. Most of the tests carried out on the toxicity of plastic have not been conducted using real parameters but using kinds of microplastics that have not been found in the ocean; in excessive quantities; in wrong dimensions; faking the results; that have not been included in control groups; where the fish has been starved to death and in some cases, the microplastics have also been pre-immersed in toxic chemical substances originating in incorrect results.
Microplastics (plastic fragments between one micrometer and five millimeters) make up the 8% in weight of all the plastics found in the oceans and are mostly generated from washing of synthetic textiles, erosion of car tires and city dusts. Even though they should not be poured into water bodies, it has been demonstrated that the problem is not plastic but the toxins that are intentionally discharged from industrial effluents that poison marine flora and fauna.
Once again we can verify that the demonization of plastic by mass medias is not based on data analysis and believable researches. It is therefore even more fundamental to be sure of the sources and of the reliability of the datas in the articles that we read in order to avoid wrong beliefs and as a consequence dangerous actions for the environment.
In our next article we will continue our insight with other wrong beliefs, aiming to find solutions that can actually improve our planet.
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