16 Oct 2017

Tiny plastics cause big problems in Pacific food chain

From , 5:03 am on 16 October 2017

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme says if nothing is done to stop the use of plastics some projections show there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

A SPREP Pollution Advisor, says Pacific people are more affected by microbead plastics in the marine food chain than other populations.

Microbeads are used as a starting material to form larger plastic objects and are also found in household and cosmetic products, such as toothpaste and body scrubs so are washed down drains.

Anthony Talouli says Pacific people eat four times more fish than the global average and the plastic ingested by fish in the Pacific has been measured at 30 per cent higher than elsewhere.

He told Jenny Meyer a recent proposal by France to ban plastic microbeads in the Pacific is a way of reducing pollutants associated with plastic and Pacific countries have embraced the suggestion.

The uninhabited Henderson Island in the South Pacific

The uninhabited Henderson Island in the South Pacific Photo: Jennifer Lavers