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LETTER | A newspaper report of a study published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal found that Malaysians eat an average of 502.3mg of microplastic daily per capita which makes us top in microplastic consumption.

The usual measure of how much plastic humans consume is toted up against plastic credit cards which weigh on average 5g.

Based on our reported daily average, it seems Malaysians are eating up approximately 37 credit cards per year. Imagine 37 credit cards in your wallet or purse, what a huge bulge it makes.

Environmental experts believe these microplastics are not likely to be excreted and remain in our bodies for the rest of our lives which will have adverse effects on our health in the long run.

Annually, we get more credit but not the type we want. Just imagine the 37 credit cards added yearly becoming a bigger and bigger bulge not in your wallet or purse but inside your body. Can’t bear imagining it, can you?

Experts believe most of these microplastics come from our consumption of seafood. These would have likely come from the plastic we dumped into the rivers, which ends up in the sea.

Malaysia still ranks high in the amount of plastic waste dumped into rivers despite many years of campaigns to reduce this problem.

We are also in the top 10 for inhaling the most microplastic. It is everywhere here because Malaysians still lack consciousness and action in reducing plastic consumption.

Tips to reduce plastic waste

Here are some reminders to reduce plastic waste for people to consciously and urgently act on immediately.

  1. Refuse single-use plastic bags, bottled water, straws, and plastic cutlery

  2. Recycle, reuse and repurpose plastic.

  3. Use a reusable water bottle.

  4. Give single-use plastic bags a second life as a trash bag.

  5. Reuse the dispensable free plastic bags you get at supermarkets.

  6. Use Tupperware for your fish and meat at markets and food from hawkers or restaurants.

  7. Pass bottle caps to recycling centres or NGOs who turn them into coasters, medals, etc.

  8. Make eco-bricks.

  9. If you do plogging, separate the plastics and metal to send for recycling.

  10. Eat less fish and meat.

  11. If you often consume hot or cold beverages from hawkers or shops, consider getting a reusable cup or tumbler.

  12. Be a conscientious consumer and consume less.

You may already practise some, but this is the time to step up and do more. Those who have done little or nothing, do the creditable thing now and combat microplastic.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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