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Ziya Tong Tackles Dangers of Microplastics in New Documentary

Ziya Tong Tackles Dangers of Microplastics in New Documentary

Called “one of those essential state-of-our-world documentaries” by Variety, Ziya Tong’s new documentary Plastic People premiered to critical acclaim at SXSW Film Festival in March 2024. It explores the hidden crisis of microplastics and their dangerous impact on human health — a timely topic for Earth Day 2024. Themed “planet vs. plastics”, its goal is to put an end to plastic for the sake of human and planetary health; a message echoed in Plastic People.

The Hidden Crisis of Microplastics

An award-winning journalist and television broadcaster, Ziya is the co-director, alongside Ben Addelman, and host of this ground-breaking feature documentary that investigates our addiction to plastic and the growing threat of microplastics on human health.

The New York Times spoke with Rick Smith, one of the film’s executive producers. He is the bestselling author of Slow Death by Rubber Duck and the president of the Canadian Climate Institute. He said, “The revelation that the human body is full of microplastics is a recent one and I think the implications will become one of the most dominant health and environmental stories of our time. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, there’s no sheltering yourself from this kind of new pollution.”

As many already know, every piece of plastic created still exists today. Over time, plastic will break down into microplastics, which are microscopic particles that drift in the air, float in all bodies of water, mix into our soil, and embed themselves into the human body. These particles have been found in organs, blood, brain tissue, and even placentas of new mothers.

Plastic People documents Ziya’s personal journey to unearth the extent of plastic’s infiltration into our world. She meets with leading scientists around the globe, while also conducting experiments in her own home on her food and her body to expose just how “plastic” our world truly is. It leaves viewer with an urgent call to action to rethink their relationship with plastic before it’s too late.

Ziya told The New York Times that despite the urgency and doom conveyed in the film, she hopes it will inspire change. This includes encouraging consumers to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic and also persuading political leaders to take regulatory action.

“It’s not like we need some remarkable new invention to address the problem,” she said. “We just have to use less plastic.”

Since its premiere, Plastic People has garnered rave reviews, with Variety writing:

“…one of the great values of a documentary like Plastic People is that it takes an issue you think you’ve grasped and colors it in. It takes your scattershot information and fuses it into a fuller vision — of the past, and the future.”

Bursting the Reality Bubble

The Reality Bubble by Ziya Tong

This isn’t the first time Ziya has exposed people to the hidden world around us and how it shapes our lives in unexpected and sometimes dangerous ways. In 2019, she published her bestselling book The Reality Bubble, which explores ten of humanity’s biggest blind spots.

The book explores how technology reveals an astonishing world that exists beyond our human senses, and exposes our collective blind spots. While we have cameras everywhere in our modern world, we don’t track where our food comes from, where our energy comes from, and where our waste goes. Being in the dark when it comes to how we survive makes it impossible to navigate our future, Ziya says.

Having received high praise from some of the biggest names in science, including Dr. David Suzuki and Dr. Jane Goodall, The Reality Bubble explores how science, and the curiosity that drives it, can help civilization flourish by opening our eyes to the real world around us.

Book Ziya Tong to Speak at Your Next Event

Drawing on her bestselling book, plus her decades-long career as a science journalist and television broadcaster, Ziya brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to the stage. Her riveting and eye-opening talks explore leadership and the role of science and technology in society.

Ziya’s newest keynote offering draws from her new documentary, where she walks through the latest scientific research on how microplastics invade our bodies and what we can do about it. Plus, she is an in-demand speaker for forward-thinking organizations looking to adapt their business to the climate crisis, and audiences looking for a way out of the environmental crisis we face.

Contact us to learn more about Ziya and how to book her for your next event.