Plastics Entering Our Food Chain

Plastics Entering Our Food Chain.

This is a video replay of a minute plankton, the basic food for marine life, attempting to digest a piece of plastic microfiber, and thereby inevitably entering the human seafood chain. We use over 300 million tonnes of new plastic every year. Half of this we use just once and usually for less than 12 minutes. 8 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year. Over many years, as this plastic waste is carried along by ocean currents, it breaks up into tiny pieces. So much is getting into our ocean that in some places these plastic particles outnumber plankton by a ratio of 26:1

A large amount of this “thrown away” plastic also carries toxic chemicals such as BPA, phthalates, pesticides and PCBs. Once in the ocean, plastic litter affects the safety of sea transport, fisheries, tourism and recreation. When broken down into tiny pieces, plastic attracts toxic chemicals released over decades from industry and agriculture, the concentration of which increases as they move up the food chain. Exposures to these chemicals have been suggested to contribute to some cancers, and infertility, as well as immune, metabolic, cognitive and behavioural disorders. The entry of plastic pieces into our food chain is of concern to human health. Over 600 species of marine life are known to suffer directly from plastic pollution including some on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s red list such as the Hawaiian monk seal, loggerhead turtle and sooty shearwater. Birds consume plastic, and an increasing number starve when their stomachs are full of plastic waste. Over 90% of seabirds worldwide have plastic pieces in their stomachs.

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