Dec 13 - Studies Cite Harmful Effects Of Microplastics

Two separate studies were released recently, further illustrating the damaging effects of plastic marine pollution, according to

Both studies, published in the Cell Press journal "Current Biology" cite impacts to marine lugworms from ingesting microplastic. Researchers at the University of Exeter found that the worms had less energy and ate less when sediment was heavily contaminated with plastic. Similar results were found by researchers at Plymouth University.

"We believe our study has highlighted the need to reduce the amount of plastic waste and therefore microplastics which enter our seas," said Exeter professor Tamara Galloway.

The problem of plastic marine pollution continues to grow— 60-80% of marine debris overall and up to 90% of floating debris is plastic. Furthermore, 80% of marine debris is estimated to be land-sourced, mostly from urban runoff. It rides ocean currents that can take it across the globe, as evidenced by the beach debris on remote Pacific Atolls. As plastic is broken down by the sun it joins the great mass of plastic particles in our oceans.

We’ve got to reduce the proliferation of single-use and disposable plastic products or we’ll continue to see more and more species impacted.

Find out more about the problem of plastic marine debris and sign up for our email and action alerts.

Photo credit: Joshua Mark Dalupan, EPA


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