Every year, around 8.8 million tons of plastic waste gets dumped into
the oceans. This waste does not cease to exist – it accumulates and goes
on to affect the environment and the organisms living, as the study
shows, in exactly every part and every layer of the oceans. “These
observations are the deepest possible record of microplastic occurrence
and ingestion, indicating it is highly likely there are no marine
ecosystems left that are not impacted by anthropogenic debris.” Putting
an end to the overflow of plastic waste in the oceans will require
cooperation from governments and big businesses – but it also requires
action from all of us as consumers. Our personal choices do make a
difference and we can make it a difference for the better.
A new study in the field of marine pollution has revealed a shocking
statistic – according to the research, nearly ten percent of whales,
dolphins, and porpoises examined in Ireland have plastic in their
digestive tracts. The findings are yet another reminder that our plastic
waste has an enormous impact on other living beings and the environment
at large – and the amount that is currently in the oceans must not be
allowed to grow.
Previous research revealed that microplastics have also been found in
tap water, mollusks, and both indoor and outdoor air. All together,
those four pathways add up to an average 32,000 pieces of microplastic
ingested per year per person. Inhaling microplastics in the air is by
far the largest contributor—people ingest roughly 80% of the
microplastics that enters their bodies through this route.
This data concerning the pervasiveness of plastic waste in the oceans
was released on behalf of Sky Ocean Rescue. The study was led by
academics at Newcastle University and it found that animals from the
deepest parts of the Pacific Ocean were contaminated with fibers that
most likely came from plastic bottles and packaging as well as synthetic
The data also show that 8.5 percent, that is 45 individuals of those
tested, had marine debris in their stomachs and intestines. Moreover,
deep-diving species were found to have ingested more plastic than the
animals that live closer to the coast.
Of these, 28 were sea salts, nine were rock salts, and two were lake
According to Dr, Alan Jamieson, leader of the study, the findings prove
that there is no place on our planet free from plastic pollution
anymore. “There is now no doubt that plastics pollution is so pervasive
that nowhere – no matter how remote – is immune,” Jamieson told the
Guardian. At the same time, he underlined the need for action heavily.
But the latest study goes a step further, finding that looking at where
the salt was produced is a good indicator of how much plastic pollution
is coming from that particular region.
“Isolating plastic fibers from inside animals from nearly 11 kilometers
deep [seven miles] just shows the extent of the problem. Also, the
number of areas we found this in, and the thousands of kilometer
distances involved shows it is not just an isolated case, this is
global,” he said.
Plastic ingestion is a huge threat to marine animals as we dump around
8.8 million tons of plastic in the world’s oceans, annually. A number of
species are already deeply impacted by the pervasive plastic
accumulating in the waters – among them sea turtles, seals, sea lions,
whales, and dolphins. Once in their system, plastic can often prove
deadly, causing blockages and releasing toxic chemicals into the
animals’ bodies. In most cases, the ingestion of plastic by marine
wildlife occurs accidentally or because of the animal mistaking the
waste for food. However, according to recent research, plastic also
turns out to be eaten on purpose, for example by fish that are attracted
to its taste.
The 39 samples came from Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chinese
mainland and Taiwan, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, India,
Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Thailand, the
UK, the US, and Vietnam.
The researchers examined 90 individual animals – and found that
ingestion of plastic ranged from 50 percent in the New Hebrides Trench
to 100 percent at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
What we throw away can and very much does impact the environment in a
major way. Considering the sheer size that plastic pollution has now
reached, this burning issue influences practically every organism linked
to our oceans. Plastic is a problem that has to be addressed by
governments and big businesses – but also by each of us as consumers.
皇家88平台，Microplastics have also been found in beer and fish.
During the study, samples of crustaceans found in the deepest trenches
across the Pacific Ocean – the Mariana, Japan, Izu-Bonin, Peru-Chile,
New Hebrides, and Kermadec trenches were tested. The trenches range from
four to more than six miles deep. They also include the deepest point in
the ocean, Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.
The study was published in the academic journal Environmental Pollution
and was prepared by researchers at Galway-Mayo IT and University College
Cork in collaboration with Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Whale and
Dolphin Conservation (WDC) reports. It was one of the largest studies of
its kind – the examined data was gathered between 1990 and 2015 from
whale and dolphin strandings and accidental captures in fishing nets.
Analyzed were eleven different species of marine animals and the
plastics discovered inside their digestive tracts included plastic bags,
wrappers, fishing hooks, and even shotgun cartridges.
Plastic waste that finds its way into the oceans often ends up floating
on the water’s surface. It makes up huge isles of marine debris, like
the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and it enables nature photographers to
take pictures of the ocean water that nearly do not feature that water
at all – because it is fully covered with a layer of trash. But plastic
does not only accumulate on the oceans’ surface. According to the newest
research, plastic pollution now reaches even the very deepest parts of
the oceans – and it is found in the stomachs of deep-sea creatures
living even seven miles under the surface.
To learn how to help the planet by using less plastic and producing less
dangerous plastic waste, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic
“The deep sea is not only the ultimate sink for any material that
descends from the surface, but it is also inhabited by organisms well
adapted to a low food environment and these will often eat just about
anything,” Jamieson said and explained that deep-sea organisms are
dependent on food “raining down from the surface which in turn brings
any adverse components, such as plastic and pollutants with it.”
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