By Lola Gayle
I know I may sound like a broken record more often than not when it comes to oceanic microplastics, but this issue means a great deal to me. People can either look at it or walk away. If I can at least reach one person every now and then, my job is successful.
Today, I penned an essay on the insidious problem of marine debris, microplastics, and microbeads. It started off as a simple article covering a study conducted by world-leading experts from the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory. And, as usual, one thing led to another and we wind up with a 1,100 word epic novel. I won’t post the entire thing here. Instead, I will give you a brief rundown and let you decide if further reading is necessary.
As you know, I wrote on Oct. 6 about microplastics from laundry that can wind up in the marine environment. But for those who know me, it’s not the first time. But today I came across this new study.
While even I know I sound like a broken record, I did learn something new: coastal dwelling marine wildlife like crabs, lobsters and shellfish are even more vulnerable to harmful plastic pollution than previously expected. But it starts with zooplankton. Those little buggers eat the tiniest of pieces and poop it out, which sinks to the ocean floor for the bottom feeders to gobble up. Well, if the zooplankton isn’t eaten first.
Either way — from the bottom of the food chain all the way to the top — everything is now ingesting dangerous levels of microplastic. Sure, we may not see it because who cares, right? Unless you show someone a graphic image of a sea turtle with a straw in his nose or a gull with trash around his neck, they won’t care.
See, the thing is, according to the researchers, these microplastics may even one day threaten humanity’s food security. And that, my friends, scares me. I don’t eat seafood myself, but there are many island nations who rely on it for their livelihood — and more importantly it’s their main source of nutrition.
We make the plastic. We use the plastic. We throw away the plastic. Little critters eat the plastic. Bigger critters eat them, plastic ingested. And the problem goes all the way up to polar bears and even whales. One way or another, if you’re eating seafood, there’s a good chance you’re eating the plastic you carelessly tossed out at the beach a few years ago.
Not very appetizing is it? At any rate, you can read my full article here. Sorry for the excessive ads, there’s nothing I can do about it. This entire industry wreaks of it.
Main image courtesy Pixabay.