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Sad to Hear, Malaysia Top The List in Daily Microplastic Consumption among 109 Countries

Sad to Hear, Malaysia Top The List in Daily Microplastic Consumption among 109 Countries

Malaysia ranks at the top for microplastic consumption among 109 countries, according to a recent study. Microplastics are plastic particles smaller than 5mm. 

On average, a person in Malaysia consumes 502.3 mg of microplastics per day or 15 grams per month, with over 50% coming from fish consumption. The country also ranks 9th for inhaling microplastics, with an estimated 494,000 particles per day per capita. This information is based on a recent study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Besides Malaysia, other Southeast Asian countries also show high levels of microplastic consumption. Indonesia ranks second, followed by Egypt, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Laos ranks sixth, with Thailand and Cambodia following.

For microplastic inhalation, China is at the top. In addition to Malaysia, other Southeast Asian countries in this list are Laos (7th), Myanmar (8th), and the Philippines (10th).

Developing countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam are the largest consumers of microplastics. This is due to the high consumption of seafood contaminated with microplastics. 

Microplastics, present in aquatic environments (freshwater and marine), end up in the human body after being eaten by organisms that humans consume. According to researchers Xiang Zhao from the National University of Defence Technology in China and Fengqi You from Cornell University, industrial development exacerbates plastic pollution in the environment.

Microplastics in food come from the use of plastics in production, processing, and packaging. Meanwhile, microplastics in the air come from the abrasion of plastic materials, such as tires and plastic particles from water.

One of the main sources of aquatic microplastics is mismanaged plastic waste from landfills. Plastic waste breaks down into macroplastics and microplastics, which pollute seawater and are carried by currents or airborne transport. These microplastics enter the food chain through contaminated marine life. 

Microplastic consumption through air and food in Asia, Africa, and America, including China and the United States, has increased drastically from 1990 to 2018, by more than six times.

Reducing 90% of plastic waste in the sea could decrease microplastic consumption in Southeast Asia by over 48%. This is crucial as Southeast Asia is the region with the highest microplastic consumption.

Source: The Star

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