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In the ocean, the most harmful plastic is too small to see

Discussion in 'Zoo Cafe' started by BigBadWolf, 29 Dec 2014.

  1. BigBadWolf

    BigBadWolf New Member

    Joined:
    22 Dec 2014
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    Location:
    Portland, Oregon, US
    In the ocean, the most harmful plastic is too small to see

    There are at least 268,000 tonnes of plastic floating around in the oceans, according to new research by a global team of scientists.

    The world generates 288m tonnes of plastic worldwide each year, just a little more than the annual vegetable crop, yet using current methods only 0.1% of it is found at sea. The new research illustrates as much as anything, how little we know about the fate of plastic waste in the ocean once we have thrown it “away”.

    Where does it go?

    Most obviously, this discarded plastic exists as the unsightly debris we see washed ashore on our beaches.

    These large chunks of plastic are bad news for sea creatures which aren’t used to them. Turtles, for instance, consume plastic bags, mistaking them for jellyfish. In Hawaii’s outer islands the Laysan albatross feeds material skimmed from the sea surface to its chicks. Although adults can regurgitate ingested plastic, their chicks cannot. Young albatrosses are often found dead with stomachs full of bottle tops, lighters and other plastic debris, having starved to death.

    But these big, visible impacts may just be the tip of the iceberg. Smaller plastic chunks less than 2.5mm across – broken down bits of larger debris – are ubiquitous in zooplankton samples from the eastern Pacific. In some regions of the central Pacific there is now six times as much plankton-sized plastic are there is plankton. Plankton-eating birds, fish and whales have a tough time telling the two apart, often mistaking this plastic – especially tan coloured particles – for krill.

    Read more: In the ocean, the most harmful plastic is too small to see
    A view to a krill: the deep south?s fragile wildlife | Echonetdaily
    Plankton - body, parasites, water, process, plants, chemical, form, energy, animals, carbon, oxygen, primary, change, surface, part
     
  2. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    28 Jan 2014
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    1,263
    Location:
    League City, Texas
    This is why I've been trying to minimize plastic use. I've been using those canvas shopping bags for the grocery store and I immediately stopped using bath products with microbeads once I heard they were harmful. It's crazy how much plastic we use.