MEXICO CITY—Mexico’s capital stepped up restrictions on traffic, closed schools and curbed outdoor activities in response to a sharp rise in air pollution caused by brush fires that have blanketed the city with smoke in recent days.
Environmental officials suspended some public works and prohibited certain construction-related activities that could send more particles into the air.
By Guest Nicole
What goes around, comes around, eventually. The latest karmic zinger is how likely you now are to find plastic particles, from packaging you might have once used, in your sea salt.
Each year, humans dump 13 million metric tons of plastic into the ocean. Some of that plastic begins its life as tiny particles, such as microbeads in face scrubs and toothpaste; others as larger pieces that get broken down through mechanical or chemical means. Estimates vary, but there’s no doubt the amount of plastic now in the oceans is substantial: one 2014 study found that there are more than 5 trillion plastic pieces sharing the seas with marine life, 92% of which are microplastics less than five millimeters (0.2 inches) in size.
Of the many ways that microplastics make their way back to us, the simplest one is through the food cycle. Tiny marine organisms like krill ingest microplastics, which are about the same size as the zooplankton they feed on. The krill then get eaten by salmon, which eventually are served in restaurants around the world. Just in case mercury concentrations weren’t enough to show us the consequences of a fish-eat-fish world, persistent plastics are a painful reminder.
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