A recent study performed in the U.K. looked at the digestive system of stranded animals along the shore of the U.K.
Samples were taken from 50 animals by two different groups, the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme and the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Program.
Every single animal had microplastics in their system. 84% of the plastic was synthetic fibers. These fibers come from clothing and fishing nets. The rest of the plastic appeared to come from food packaging.
Of the animals that had died from infection, they had a higher level of microplastics inside them. The animals that died from other causes had less plastic in their digestive system.
One of the authors on the study, Brendan Godley had this to say about the study, “It highlights the magnitude of plastic pollution. We expected to find plastics but were somewhat surprised when we found fibers in every single animal of all species.”
“It can be difficult to grasp the magnitude of the plastic problem in our oceans. However, taking steps to reduce plastic waste is extremely important,” Godley stated, “But in time, it is likely that we will need to look very hard at all aspects of our relationship with plastics,” he continued. “With regard to the fibers found in our study animals, what polymers we use in our clothes and how we wash them and minimize environmental spillage would be two questions to address. Plastics are very useful; it is our current way of managing them that is the problem.”
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