While humanity and the scientific community are well aware of the harm that plastic and other garbage emit into the oceans to its inhabitants, very little is known about how great this harm is and how much garbage can be consumed by an ocean inhabitant. Given that the problem of ocean pollution is becoming more and more critical, a new study by marine scientists from Cardiff University in the UK decided to prioritize a comparative analysis of different animals in the ocean and how much specific plastic they can consume – and also indicated the consequences this can lead to.
So, at the center of a new study on the real harm of plastic, scientists used mostly old research data and studies in which other teams compared the difference between how much small and large inhabitants of the ocean consume garbage. It turned out that the maximum ratio of litter to dead weight is observed in turtles, which can eat up to 5: 1 litter of their own weight, and the average size was seen in blue whales, which can eat up to 20: 1 to their weight.
Despite the fact that they themselves are really huge creatures, nevertheless, this volume of plastic and other garbage can extremely negatively affect their reproductive and immune systems, which was partly proved by a new study, during which experts studied the demographic indicators most and least polluted areas of the oceans. They pointed out that microplastics are more dangerous, as ocean dwellers swallow it much more often than standard sized plastic.
In addition, very often the inhabitants of the ocean and seas take microplastic for food, since some of its subspecies by smell can actually resemble it – here the specific harm coefficient will depend on a specific region and ecosystem. However, it is worth noting the fact that this study does not yet reveal some points and details as to what the next stage will be – and after all, it may turn out to be the most decisive in this context.