Being irresponsible may be acceptable in crowded cities, but on beaches and the oceans, there is nobody to pick up your trash. Your actions are, therefore, chocking the seas and killing animals. However, that's not all... It actually gets worse, and you may reap what you saw, and it may kill you.
May be this is karma in disguise.
The human species has forgotten that it is part of nature.
How many times should we be reminded that actions have consequences and that we are all part of nature, and we cannot coexist on this planet if we think we deserve to be here while nature doesn't.
It is a fact that we may have only 1-2 years to remain on this planet as a species if we bring insects and plankton to extinction. Insects are pollinators and are key to our survival. This is partly the main reason behind "save the bees" initiatives. We also know the use of pesticides has increased 10 folds in the last decades (this is discussed in much details in the Chapter: Grains the Truth, in Energise), and that ALL conventional/industrial farms drench their crops with a soup of toxic chemicals (herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, to name a few, all categorised under the umbrella term: "pesticides").
According to EWG’s analysis of the latest test data from the federal Department of Agriculture, nearly 70 percent of the non-organic fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains residues of potentially harmful chemical pesticides.
The EWG's list of "Dirty Dozen" may give you a good indication of the products you should always buy organic.
For example, the EWG explains that Imazalil, a fungicide known to be an endocrine-disruptor (affects human hormone levels) and classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a likely human carcinogen, was detected on nearly 90% of citrus tested in 2020, and over 95 percent of tangerine samples tested by the USDA in 2019.
In 2021, Kale still remains in the third spot on the "Dirty Dozen" list, and is now joined by collard (spring) and mustard greens as being among the produce items with the highest pesticide load.
This tends to indicate that our food shopping habits are directly linked to the threat that nature is facing. Indeed, by buying cheap conventionally-grown foods, we are telling the greedy conglomerate monsters: "it is ok, continue to kill nature, I give you the green light!"
Did you know that we have half a century left before the soil becomes sterilised and no food can be grown again. Because the use of toxic chemicals — design to kill — are doing exactly that: They are killing nature at a faster pace as never before.
Insects are near the brink of extinction. 40% of all insect species are now under threat worldwide. Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature' and the rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century. We know it. We are witnessing it first hand (how many bugs to you see crashing on your windscreen as you drive on motorways), and yet, it appears that no one is held responsible and that it is business as usual for supermarkets' driven demand and the like of Monsanto/Bayer designing unspeakable weapons targeting nature for the fun of it.
Lying and bullying, and lobbying politicians, and being part of the government itself, these companies are allowing 'bad' politicians to turn the other way, while they are receiving plenty of funds as "donations".
So what can we do?
We need to stand united and stop buying cheap and health-damaging foods. The power is in our hands. Also, we are able to place pressure on governments to do the right thing. Signing petitions that collect enough signatures cannot be ignored and MUST be addressed in sessions. The governments MUST listen to our voices.
So stand up and give your children the life they deserve.
So now that we know the human species is completely disconnected from nature, from food, from the spirit of community, we do not know where we belong and how the cumulation of our collective actions affects the entire world and its survival, as well as ours.
Indeed, when you trash the sandwich wrapper on the street, there may be a council-paid person that would clean after you, however, when you do this on the beach, it is very likely that a bit of wind will push it to the sea. While the paper bit may disintegrate after a while, the plastic window and plastic lining may take centuries to degrade, all the while breaking down to microscopic pieces, that are joining millions of tonnes of microplastics already floating on the surface of the oceans (think plastic bags, sun lotions and cream bottles, plastic cutlery and straws, and many other million of fragments of plastic ending up in the sea). Sea mammals ingurgitate a large amount of this plastic every time they rise to the surface to breathe, including whales which push shoal of fish to the surface to eat more at a time, and this plastic ends up in their bodies, accumulating to dangerous levels.
Microplastics are now added to the list of health-damaging substances, which also include heavy metals, PCBs and DDT (thrown at sea once they were banned by despicable companies hoping nobody will ever know).
But, what happen to the tonnes of plastic in our oceans?
Well, it ends up in our plate.
It is believed that fish contains as much as 1 credit card worth of plastic.
Sea salt is also shown to contain concerning levels of microplastics.(1) The issue here is that commercial salt is stripped of all the health-preserving compounds and toxic chemicals are added to the mix (e.g., talk and anti-caking agents), which means that in addition to microplastics, commercial salt is not the wonder food that nature has provided us for millennia.
As a matter of fact, sea salt is used as an indicator of sea pollution.(2)
"Commercial salts contaminated with MPs may contribute to the potential long-term adverse effects resulting from human exposure to these particles."
Peixoto, D. et al. (2019, p. 161), writes:
"MPs (microplastic) have been found in commercial salts from 128 brands, from 38 different countries spanning over five continents... As commercial salts are used every day and by all humans, they constitute a long-term exposure route for the general population in addition to others (e.g., animals consumed as food by humans, water, air). Therefore, commercial salts contaminated with MPs may contribute to the potential long-term adverse effects resulting from human exposure to these particles."
"Plastics represent one of the fastest-growing portions of the urban waste contributing to environmental contamination and pollution, with plastic debris accounting for approximately 60–80% of all marine litter, reaching 90–95% in some areas."
The global annual plastic production increased greatly in recent decades, from ∼1.5 million tonnes in the 1950s to approximately 335 million in 2016. (3)
Most of the plastics found in the marine environment come from land-based sources, entering through major rivers and other routes. (2,4,5,6)
Among plastic debris, microplastics (plastic particles smaller than 5 mm in size), are of especial concern mainly due to their long environmental persistence, small size, high surface/volume ratio, and their capability of entry into the cells and induce adverse effects.
All salts available to consumers in Chinese supermarkets, many of which were analysed during October and November 2014, contained microplastics (MPs). Higher concentrations of MPs were found (550–681 particles.kg−1) in sea salts, compared to lake salts (43–364 particles.kg−1) and rock/well salts (7–204 particles.kg−1).(7)
You may think that you are not exposed to so much plastic in the West, but, sadly, the picture is quite similar. Karami et al. (2017) investigated the presence and concentration of MPs in 17 different brands of salt, from eight countries (Australia, France, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, New Zeeland, Portugal, and South Africa). MPs were present in 88% of the salts. In the contaminated samples, the concentrations of the particles ranged from zero (French sea salt) to 10 particles.kg−1 (Portuguese sea salt).(8)
The results of the studies (1) indicate that the contamination of commercial salts for human food consumption is very common and some salts may be problematic than others. Salts from Asian countries and Croatia display very high concentrations of microplastics. The issue here is that you may not know where you salt is from. It may be packaged in your own country, but it may have travelled many thousands of miles to make it to your plate. Commercial salts used in food outlets and restaurants are often the most cost-efficient industrial table salts and may prove to be the most health-damaging of all (due in part to the presence of microplastics but also due to the processing methods and toxic additives).
"Plastic debris account for approximately 60–80% of all marine litter, reaching 90–95% in some areas."
Because you think you do not buy commercial table salt, you are not exposed to a large level of microplastics.
Salt is used in food preservation methods (at home and store-bought foods), and each of us ingests relatively small amounts of salt in several food items, such as ready-made meals, restaurant and food outlets meals, preserved food items (e.g., fruit, cheese, and cereals), some of which contain considerable amounts of salt, and some drinks. Yet, you may not be aware that salt is also used in the manufacturing of cosmetic and personal care products, as well as some pharmaceuticals.
Microplastics are also found in drinking water and the air that we breathe.(9)
Sherri Mason, a professor at the State University of New York in Fredonia, who partnered with researchers at the University of Minnesota on a separate salt study, said in an interview the new findings add “another piece to the puzzle” to assessing the impact of microplastics. The study (2), she says, “shows us that microplastics are ubiquitous. It’s not a matter of if you are buying sea salt in England, you are safe.”
The study (2) estimates that the average adult consumes approximately 2,000 microplastics per year through salt. although, what that means remains a mystery.
A separate study by the University of York in Britain that sought to assess the risks of microplastics to the environment concluded not enough is known to determine if microplastics cause harm. This is due in part to the way data is collected and what is collected. The review of 320 existing studies found “major knowledge gaps” in scientific understanding of the impact of microplastics. The studies examined different types of microplastics, including microbeads, fragments, and fibers, leading to a “mismatch” of data that makes comparisons akin to comparing “apples to pears,” Alistair Boxall, a University of York geography professor and co-author of the study, said in a statement.
“Based on our analysis, there is currently limited evidence to suggest microplastics are causing significant adverse impacts,” he said. “There is an urgent need for better quality and more holistic monitoring studies alongside more environmentally realistic effects studies on the particle sizes and material types that are actually in the environment.”
This means that no one truly knows the extent of plastic pollution and the adverse-effect on our health is yet to be thoroughly analysed and a global initiative put in place to correctly collect data and also a unified understanding of the data collected, to create a common goal towards addressing and reducing plastic pollution.
We must act today and avoid plastic at all cost. Less demand will force a reduction in manufacturing of plastic. We must act. We must act together. We must act NOW!
“Recent studies have found plastics in seafood, wildlife, tap water, and now in salt. It’s clear that there is no escape from this plastics crisis, especially as it continues to leak into our waterways and oceans,” said Mikyoung Kim, Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia. “We need to stop plastic pollution at its source. For the health of people and our environment, it’s incredibly important that corporations reduce their reliance on throwaway plastics immediately.”
Nature is gracious and beautiful, so let's keep it that way, and unify today against plastic.
Registered Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Iridologist, Lecturer, NLP practitioner and Personal Performance Coach.
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