Microplastic pollution in china and food delivery services

The chain can continue until it reaches our tables

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Microplastic pollution in china and food delivery services

Microplastics persist in the environment in large quantities, especially in marine and aquatic ecosystems. This is because plastic deforms but does not break for many years, it can be ingested and accumulated in the body and tissues of many organisms.

The entire cycle and movement of microplastics in the environment has not yet been studied in depth, especially due to the difficulty of analyzing a mixture of various types of more or less inert plastics. Microplastics pose a serious threat to small marine living beings, which tend to feed on them, mistaking them for plankton.

These minor organisms are in turn inserted into the food chain and ingested by larger living beings and their predators. The chain can continue until it reaches our tables. Controlling the release of these plastics into the environment therefore means safeguarding marine fauna.

Many marine animals such as seagulls or seals have ingested microplastics, affecting health. The study: Microplastic Pollution in China, an Invisible Threat Exacerbated by Food Delivery Services, published on the Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology, explains: "With the rapid development and democratization of the internet and smart phone industry, online food delivery services have become increasingly popular all over the globe, namely in China.

One of the unfortunate drawbacks of these delivery services is that they mainly use single-use plastics as food packaging, therefore generating large amounts of disposable food containers to meet demand. Such plastic containers reach the end of their service life after a single meal, and are then discarded as plastic waste.

The sheer amount of plastic food containers discarded in this manner exacerbates various environmental issues, including one that is invisible to the naked eye: microplastic pollution. This minireview summarizes the history of food delivery services in China, from orders made face-to-face to digita l orders, as well as the consequences introduced by the tremendous amounts of plastic waste generated by the food delivery services.

Microplastic pollution could be mitigated to a certain extent by improving the classification, handling and management of single-use plastic containers in China. Furthermore, additional studies focusing on microplastic pollution caused by food delivery services are needed, especially as the use of these services is on the rise worldwide. "