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Taiwanese consume a straw's worth of plastic each year

Taiwan's seafood contains significant amounts of microplastics

Plastic pollution in ocean and fish eating plastic straw and bag. (Getty Images)

Plastic pollution in ocean and fish eating plastic straw and bag. (Getty Images)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The average Taiwanese consumes a drinking straw's worth of microplastics each year due to eating contaminated seafood, according to research by Greenpeace Taiwan.

The study found that Taiwanese annually eat at least 16,300 units, or 1.05 grams, of microplastics from shellfish, cephalopods (including octopi and squids), and fish. That is equivalent to a single plastic straw, Greenpeace said at a press conference on Thursday (Jan. 28).

That amount does not include other foods or water, the environmental organization cautioned. The study was based on a review of five earlier studies that examined the prevalence of plastic in Taiwan's aquatic creatures, in its waters, and around its coastline, reported CNA.

People in Taiwan ages 19 to 65 consume an average of 50 kilograms of seafood per year. As seafood is a major staple in the country’s cuisine, Greenpeace is calling for action to reduce the amount of plastic in the food chain, from eliminating single-use items to controlling the plastic at its source.

Microplastics have made their way to almost every corner of the globe, from the deepest oceans to the summit of Mount Everest. A study recently published in Environmental International indicates microplastics have even been discovered in placentas, which could damage unborn babies.