You’ve heard that plastic waste is an environmental hazard, just what precisely are the effects of this pollution.
Thanks to researchers in the UK, it’s now been found that small pieces of plastic tend to become lodged in the stomachs of sea turtles.
They found that tiny bits of plastic waste and other synthetic microplastics affected over 100 turtles in three different oceans and seas including the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean Sea.
The study, which was conducted through the Univeristy of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, pointed out that:
“This study provides more evidence that we all need to help reduce the amount of plastic waste released to our seas and maintain clean, healthy and productive oceans for future generations,” said Penelope Lindeque, the co-author of the scientific paper.”
The Meditaerranean sea had turned out to be worst for encountering this problem. However, right across all of the oceans and seas approximately 800 particles smaller than half a centimeter were discovered in the digestive tract of turtles and each turtle had approximately 150 pieces each.
The most common sources of plastic found ranged from polyester clothing, cigarettes and car tires.
Also, the researchers also discovered tiny plastic microbeads that were used in cosmetic products, which have since been banned in both the US (since 2015) and the UK (in 2018).
Inspite of these bans, many advocates of change have repeatedly stressed and argued the case that more needs to be done curb this issue, as it’s bad enough as it is.
Dr Emily Duncan, the lead author of the study elaborated by suggesting that microbeads may be small enough to avoid an animal choking on them but the fact is they’re plastic and may be having a more subtle impact than we currently know:
“For example, they may possibly carry contaminants, bacteria or viruses, or they may affect the turtle at a cellular or sub-cellular level.”
Dr Duncan further advocated that more research should be dedicated to learning the various ways microplastics can affect aquatic life.