Deep Dive Looking for wondrous things, finding plastic

Microplastics are fragmented pieces of breaking-down plastic: pieces as small as a fingernail or as tiny as a blood cell. They are a byproduct of humanity's toxic dependence on plastic products and have been found in concentrations in our air, in our drinking water, and in the bodies of all animals in all ecosystems.

Microplastics and regular plastic trash in our oceans is regularly eaten by marine animals: inadvertently when it's present in the water in which they live, directly when they mistake it for food and eat it, or when it is already present in a prey animal. Plastics can tear an animal's guts if it's sharp, it can block or entangle an animal's organs if it's soft, it can leach poisons and chemicals into an animal, and it can build up inside an animal and make it feel full even when it is slowly starving to death.

Animals at all levels of the food chain and ocean depths are effected by plastics in their habitats.

References + Further Reading

  • www.theoceancleanup.com/great-pacific-garbage-patch/#what-are-the-effects-on-marine-life-and-humans
  • www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-deep-ocean-harbors-a-mountain-of-microplastic-pollution/
  • www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44117-2
  • www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-43375-4
  • www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45509822
  • www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-4823015
  • www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-17503395
  • www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/24/record-levels-of-plastic-discovered-in-arctic-sea-ice
  • www.npr.org/2019/05/16/723641299/remote-island-chain-has-few-people-but-hundreds-of-millions-of-pieces-of-plastic
  • nypost.com/2019/05/14/deep-sea-divers-find-plastic-bags-while-exploring-uncharted-waters/
  • newatlas.com/five-deeps-dsv-limiting-factor-mariana-trench/59690/
  • www.independent.co.uk/environment/turtles-plastic-pollution-deaths-australia-microplastic-waste-a8536041.html
  • fivedeeps.com/home/technology/sub/
  • eradicateplastic.com/10-interesting-facts-about-the-great-pacific-garbage-patch/
Created By
Pia Leo

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