Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania Edition
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed

Tiny Baubles

Microplastic Mess Threatens World Oceans

Fotos593/Shutterstock.com

Scientists from the University of Hull and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have published research in the journal Science of the Total Environment showing levels of microplastics are five times higher in the Antarctic than previous estimates.

Co-author Dr. Claire Waluda, a BAS biologist, says, “We have monitored the presence of large plastic items in Antarctica for more than 30 years. While we know that bigger pieces can be ingested by seabirds or cause entanglements in seals, the effects of microplastics on marine animals in the Southern Ocean are as yet unknown.”

The tiny beads of plastic come from cosmetics or are shreddings from larger plastic items like clothing or bottles. According to United Nations sources, they may number as many as 51 trillion particles across the seafloor, throughout the oceans and on beaches worldwide. They are considered a serious threat to marine life in general. More international monitoring of the situation is needed, including a requirement for all polar research stations to provide waste treatment options.


For more information, see Tinyurl.com/PlasticInAntarctica.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Tree Tally

By digitalizing photographs and other museum records, scientists are closing in on the number of tree species left to be discovered in the Amazon rainforest.

Add your comment: