Yale-NUS Divisional Director and Professor of Science (Environmental Studies) Stephen Pointing was interviewed on Channel NewsAsia’s news segment ‘Singapore Tonight’ about the recent study that found microplastics in bottled water. Professor Pointing noted that there are about 10 large particles and 300 small particles per litre of water on average in bottled water. The effect of these microplastics on human health and the environment is still unclear to the scientific community, which is why the study is causing quite a stir. He added that large particles tend to be expelled by our system when we ingest them, However, this is not the case for smaller particles, which is an issue because these materials are often based in oil. If absorbed by the body, these particles may have toxic effects, which are still currently unknown. On the issue of plastic waste and impact on the environment, Professor Pointing shared that it is likely that the air that we breathe, liquids and food packaging also contain small amounts of microplastics. The clip ran on 16 March at 10pm.
Channel 8’s ‘Hello Singapore‘ and ‘News Tonight‘ programmes, which ran at 6.30pm and 10pm on 16 March respectively, also carried the interview. In these segments, Professor Pointing urged consumers not to buy bottled water, highlighting that tap water in Singapore is safe to drink. He also recommended using a water filter if consumers are worried, to add an extra level of security. Professor Pointing’s comments were also carried on Channel U’s ‘News Tonight’ at 10pm and Capital 958’s news segment at 11pm.