Right now there are more than 51 trillion pieces of microplastic in our oceans – that’s more that 500 times the number of stars in our galaxy.
These plastic particles affect every part of our oceans. It’s contaminated the darkest reaches of the Mariana Trench, over 10km deep. It becomes frozen into icebergs and Arctic sea ice. Plastic is even affecting volcanoes, creating new rocks that are going to scar our world for millions of years. From the tiniest plankton to the largest whales, plastic is a threat to all marine life. Corals, sharks, dolphins, tuna and swordfish – none are safe. 90% of all seabirds have consumed plastic – in 1960 it was less than 5%. Sea snakes, turtles, otters, penguins, seals, crutaceans and manatees – 50% of them have consumed plastic! There is a tendency to focus on large pieces of debris that we can easily see – after all, these are the ones that we see strangling and choking our wildlife. The hidden, and far more serious danger are ‘microplastics’ – tiny bits of plastic too small to see, small enough to pass through our commercial water filters, and tiny enough to eaten by plankton and become embedded in the tissues of other animals, including humans.
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