That plastic has no place in the environment is no longer a secret. The fact that plastic can now also be found in many living beings or even us humans has already been widely discussed. But an actual overview of the real dangers of plastic for marine life has not yet been made. A new summary of hundreds of scientific articles now shows how serious the situation is.
The new report appeared in the journal Conservation Letters and includes 655 scientific articles on litter found in the ocean and 79 studies across all continents looking at deaths in whales, dolphins and other marine animals. The result: plastic bags and flexible packaging materials are the greatest danger to living things there.
At least 80 different species are affected by deaths from digestion of plastic items. In addition to the bags and packaging materials mentioned above, fishing nets, latex gloves and balloons are also a major problem. Whales, dolphins and turtles are particularly hard hit.
How many animals actually fall victim to plastic can only be roughly estimated. The reason is that many animals are not even discovered and only trained people can determine death from plastic. Nevertheless, there does not seem to be an end in sight. A study published in September concluded that between 19 and 23 million tons of plastic ended up in rivers and oceans every year in 2016.
Australian researchers also drew attention to the dangers in 2020. In October they said that probably 14 million tons of microplastic particles are floating on the bottom of the oceans. With the latest findings, scientists want to encourage that more is done at the legal level and that the trade in plastic waste is more closely controlled or sanctioned.
In addition to the damage to the environment, the suffering of the animals is also in the foreground. Many marine organisms ingest the plastic and then find themselves in agony for weeks. Another reason to finally do more to combat plastic pollution. Because even if a life without plastic is hardly possible, there are already many ways to dispose of it sustainably.
via The Guardian