What we commonly see accumulating at the sea surface is “less than the tip of the iceberg, maybe a half of 1% of the total,” says Erik Van Sebille, an oceanographer at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
Plastics in oceans
Wildlife around the world is exposed to plastic pollutants called endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Not much is known about how these chemicals affect marine environments, though scientists have been studying them for years. According to The Guardian, killer whales, for instance,… Read More ›
“Given their pervasive and persistent nature, microplastics have become a global environmental concern and a potential risk to human populations,” said Rachel Hurley from the University of Manchester and colleagues in their report, published in Nature Geoscience.
“From acidification to the worsening impacts of hurricanes, climate change is negatively affecting our oceans and coastal communities. In addition, plastic waste and marine litter pose an increasingly serious threat to our oceans, marine life, and human health. In fact, there is so much plastic in our oceans that, without action, it is estimated there will be more plastics in our oceans than fish, by 2050. This global problem requires action, and Canada is working with international partners to see our oceans protected from waste and the impacts of climate change. As Canadatakes on the G7 presidency in 2018, we will continue to advance global efforts on climate change, oceans, and clean energy.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“There is now evidence that some of these toxins on the microplastics can be transferred to animals that eat them, with potential harmful effects.”
“Isolating plastic fibres from inside animals from nearly 11 kilometres deep (seven miles) just shows the extent of the problem. Also, the number of areas we found this in, and the thousands of kilometre distances involved shows it is not just an isolated case, this is global.”
BBC recently released this amazing video of how plastics impact everything in our seas, including the tiny seahorse.
Humans are already eating plastic from the sea too. The average person who eats seafood swallows up to 11,000 pieces of microplastic every year, according to a study by researchers at the University of Ghent. As Prince Charles put it at a recent Our Ocean summit, “plastic is very much on the menu”.