What are the effects of ocean plastic on marine life?

Marine fauna, such as seabirds, whales, fish and turtles, mistake plastic waste for their prey; most die of hunger when their stomachs are filled with plastic. They also suffer from lacerations, infections, reduced ability to swim and internal injuries. Plastic pollution has a direct and deadly effect on wildlife. Thousands of seabirds and sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals die every year after ingesting plastic or becoming entangled in it.

Endangered wildlife, such as the Hawaiian monk seal and the Pacific loggerhead turtle, are among the nearly 700 species that eat plastic garbage and are trapped in it. In the ocean, plastic waste harms and kills fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Marine plastic pollution has affected at least 267 species worldwide, including 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species and 43% of all marine mammal species. Impacts include deaths as a result of ingestion, starvation, asphyxiation, infection, drowning, and entanglement.

7.Microplastics can be home to so many microbial hitchhikers that they counteract the natural buoyancy of plastic and cause your raft to sink. However, if biofilms degrade as they descend, the plastic could float upwards again, which could cause microplastics to purgatory in the water column. Marine snow is anything but stable; as the flakes fall freely into the abyss, they constantly freeze and fall apart, torn apart by waves or predators. In the 1960s, a worrying trend became evident.

Seabirds around the world were dying from pieces of plastic that obstructed their digestive system. Not only can animals die from obstruction in the stomach or intestines, but sharp fragments of plastic can also pierce the intestinal lining and can starve to death because they feel falsely full from a stomach full of plastic. Soon, similar reports spread to whales, dolphins and manatees found with plastic in their stomachs. Nowadays, plastic has been found in animals ranging from whales, fish, sea turtles, small crustaceans, birds and even shellfish, for a total of about 700 species (subscription required).

The extent to which an animal eats plastic depends on how it consumes its food. Forage birds often mistake plastic for possible food, and filter-fed animals, such as bearded whales or mussels, unwittingly sift the plastic along with the plankton. More than half of the world's sea turtles have ingested a certain amount of plastic, eating small pieces of plastic, but they often mistake a drifting plastic bag for a floating jellyfish, which many turtles love to eat. For a leatherback turtle that consumes about 75 percent of its body weight in jellyfish per day, making the distinction is a challenge.

Not only is plastic durable, but it's also usually lightweight, perfect for being trapped by the wind or carried away by an ocean current and traveling long distances. The Environmental Protection Agency is asking the government to regulate plastics as pollutants under the Clean Water Act and will continue to push for plastic pollution to be treated as the hazardous waste that it is. While plastic waste that reaches the coast is an easy visual indicator of accumulation in the ocean, plastic is often trapped in the sea. Other natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, also contribute to the accumulation of plastic waste in the ocean.

Many of the solutions presented at the exhibition show how citizens' behavior can make a difference: giving up plastic drinking straws, using cloth shopping bags instead of plastic bags, buying cosmetics that don't include microbeads and recycling are just some of the changes that anyone can make. Around the world, there are five main gyres in which plastic waste tends to accumulate: the North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic and Indian Ocean gyres. Studies estimate that there are now between 15 and 51 trillion pieces of plastic in the world's oceans, from the equator to the poles, from the Arctic ice sheets to the seabed. As the omnipresence of plastic in seafood products becomes more evident, there is increasing concern about the impacts of plastic consumption on human health.

And the European Space Agency plans to use new technology to measure the amount of floating ocean plastic that exists in space. According to the Environmental Audit Committee of the House of Commons of Great Britain, a single shower can send 100,000 plastic particles into the ocean. One example is downloading and using applications to help track marine debris to better inform scientists about the distribution and abundance of ocean plastic. Unifi, a manufacturer that converts plastic into yarn, has been manufacturing graduation gowns with recycled plastic that have been used by more than 2.2 million students.

Launched in one of the poorest countries in the world, the “Plastic Bank” encourages local residents to pick up plastic waste, often on beaches, where it reaches the coast from afar, and allows them to obtain money or goods in exchange for the plastic deposit. .

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