Scientists have found plastic in the digestive systems of fish living in the English Channel.
“We have previously shown that on shorelines worldwide and on the sea bed and in the water column around the UK, these tiny fragments of plastic are widespread,” said Professor Richard Thompson.
“Our recent research has shown that such fragments are also being ingested by fish. Laboratory studies on mussels have shown that some organisms can retain plastic after ingestion, hence microplastic debris could also accumulate in natural populations.”
This could create many other problems for fish. For example, other pollutants could latch on to the plastic, exposing the fish to new dangers. It could also create blockages in their digestive systems or could result in a false sense of being full.
The plastic in these fish came from many different sources. Some come from exfoliators like face and body scrubs, while others were broken down from much larger objects.
“We don’t need to have plastic debris in the sea,” said Thompson. “These materials are inherently very recyclable, but regrettably they’ve been at the heart of our throw-away culture for the last few decades.”
“We need to recognize the value of plastics at the end of their lives and need help from industry and manufacturers to widen the potential for every day products to be reusable and recyclable,” he added.
To learn more:
- Read the full article: Plastic found in British fish
- Find the full study, published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, here: Occurrence of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract of pelagic and demersel fish from the English Channel
- Check out this article: New Study Finds Plastic in Stomachs of Garbage Patch Fishes
- And this one about exfoliating beads: ‘Plastic micro beads’ to be removed from soap
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.