Marine pollution and plastic pollution are problematic for many reasons. Plastic is not biodegradable. Instead, they break down over time into smaller pieces called microplastics and nano plastics, which can have significant adverse effects. The impact on marine life ranges from the physical or chemical effects of individual animals to the biodiversity and the functioning of the ecosystem.
Plastic fragments have been found in the digestive system of many aquatic organisms, including nearly half of all marine turtle species and seabirds and marine mammal species surveyed. Sea turtles misunderstand floating plastic bags as jellyfish. Then their stomachs are filled with non-perishable plastic, so they are slowly starving. Seabirds stick to plastic because they smell and look like food. Marine mammals, sea turtles, as well as other aquatic life often drown after being exposed to discarded plastics, including fishing gear. This is the main reason for the death of southern whales in the North Atlantic.
The world’s most endangered whales have been caught in ghost fishing gear. The toxins already in the plastics not only enter the seafood network but can also be transferred through that toxin food chain by ingesting the marine species. Focusing on distant aquatic environments and aliens, mollusks, and bananas, which can invade and destroy species, is a major concern for non-native species that roam the oceans and floating debris overland. Most of the plastic waste eventually sinks to the ocean floor, causing the coral reefs and marine life to sink. So, should we still use plastic? Think for a moment. These diagrams below highlight this catastrophe well.
Faculty of Science
University of Ruhuna