The study is part of the university thesis of Nefertiti Sibaja, a student at the School of Biological Sciences of UNA. Preliminary investigations have already set off the alarms for some time: “Before this thesis, UNA researchers have fpund microplastic in fish, here in the Las Baulas Marine Park, in Guanacaste, despite being a protected area. Now imagine how it is in other, more exposed places,” says Karol Ulate, UNA marine biologist.
The laboratory analysis reveals the harsh reality:
in the last sampling here, only one fish, from the more than 200 organisms analyzed did not have microplastic. We are finding them in their stomachs, because the microplastic is so small, that it can pass through the bloodstream of the fish and accumulate in its liver and other organs,”
According to the marine biologist, microplastics come from three main sources: on the one hand the soaps of clothes and toothpastes, on the other hand the fibers of synthetic clothing that degrade, and the common plastic bottles. Many of these products run through pipes, sewers, and rivers to the ocean. Official figures show that every day in our country about 560 tons of garbage are generated, of which almost half go to the sea, with the Tempisque and Tárcoles rivers being the most contaminated landfills.
The effects of microplastic intake in consumers is already investigated around the world:
very preliminary studies in the Mediterranean Sea are finding microplastic in the epithelium of human intestines, (the skin that covers it inside) as well as processes of inflammation in that organ, suggesting a possible association between one thing and another. It is estimated in that study, that people are consuming about 12 plastic microparticles a day,”
And that’s not all.
polyethylene, which is for example in the containers of stereophonic, is highly related to cancer; some types of plastics, release toxins and begin to have physiological problems at the reproductive level, both in women and men,”
explains Karol Ulate.