Microplastics in Soil Hurt Earthworms

Microplastics seem to be all the rage today. We hear about them polluting the oceans, and even floating in the air. If that wasn’t scary enough, microplastics are now in the soil, and they’re hurting earthworms.

According to a recent scientific study, microplastics are causing worms to lose weight. This finding worries us at OkStraw Paper Straws, because it’s devastating news. If we want to ensure a stable food supply, then we have to tackle our microplastic problem.

 

Earthworms are in Trouble

In a recent study by Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom, scientists observed microplastics causing rosy-tipped earthworms to lose weight. While scientists are sure why microplastics in soil cause earthworms to lose weight, the details are worrying.

The plastic responsible was HDPE, commonly used in plastic straws, bags and soda bottles. Scientists determined that HDPE in soil caused earthworms to lose 3% of their body weight over a month. Without HDPE in the soil, earthworms gained 5% body weight over the same timespan. This scares us at OkStraw Paper Straws, because microplastics hurting earthworms carries serious repercussions for human beings. 

Microplastics Threaten Human Beings

So far, scientists still don’t know whether microplastics directly hurt people who swallow them. With this news, however, we at OkStraw Paper Straws believe they won’t need to. That’s because microplastics in the soil directly threatens human populations.

Earthworms provide important nutrients for yielding healthy crops, which farmers need. If microplastics kill off earthworms, then farmers won’t be able to grow enough food to feed people. This means microplastics have the potential to cause crop failures, and food shortages. 

No Where is Safe From Microplastics

“But how do microplastics get into the soil?”, you may ask. Microplastics are incredibly invasive; storm clouds and wind storms can carry them across long distances. When microplastics enter rainstorms, they get carried down to the ground, and leech into the soil. Worms then eat these microplastics, lose weight and die, causing food shortages.

As with other forms of pollution, microplastics in the soil will disproportionately affect developing countries. Because developing countries have less safeguards against food shortages, microplastics will kill vulnerable people through starvation. We at OkStraw Paper Straws believe that unless we cut out plastics, the consequences will be deadly.

How You Can Fight Microplastics

Because HDPE microplastics hurt earthworms, let’s first cut out products that use this material. Instead of using HDPE-based plastic bags and plastic straws, switch to reusable bags and paper straws. These flimsy plastics are difficult to recycle properly, so the best safeguard is to not use them.

At OkStraw Paper Straws, we encourage everyone to join us in cutting out plastics. Not just for the turtles and fish, but for those earthworms, and even human beings. OkStraw organic paper straws are safely biodegradable in both the ocean and the soil. Our paper straws hurt neither turtle nor earthworm, and they don’t threaten food security. So do it for the worms, do it for the people, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

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