Plastic issue reaches brand new depths

22nd Feb 2018

New research has shown a worring level of plastic in even deep sea ocean life, raising concerns that the issue of plastic could cause a serious threat to human health.

As reported in The Times, scientists studied 233 fish in a polluted area of the Atlantic ocean and found 73 percent had consumed plastic, with many of the species studied being crucial food sources for a range of life including dolphins, seals and seabirds.

The study, published in "Frontiers in Marine Science", also highlighted that these plastics would accumulate in the food chain and potentially reach humans. They also highlighted the threat of other toxic chemicals found in these animals, including polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which pose a serious threat to human health.

Plastics make their way into the ocean in significant quantities each year, both as microplastics from clothing and cosmetics and as larger plastic items which break down into smaller pieces over time. Smaller animals often mistake them for food and consume them, and are then subsequently eaten by larger predators themselves. This results in an accumulation in larger apex predators and this can have significant health impacts on the animals.

ORCA's work to monitor marine mammals in the Atlantic aims to highlight changes in population and distribution in order to understand some of the potential impacts of threats such as plastics, allowing us to inform government policy and drive change at the highest levels. We want to create safer spaces for whales and dolphins for future generations.