Dec 10 - New Study Finds High Concentration Of Plastic Pollution In Australian Waters


The planet's oceans are under siege from plastic pollution. Studies are increasingly finding impacts to marine life created when plastic is ingested or absorbed.

A new study found over 4,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometers in waters around Australia, according to the guardian.

The study, conducted by the University of Western Australia and CSIRO, found the vast majority of plastic particles were polyethylene and polypropylene, used to create disposable packaging, such as water bottles, and fishing equipment.

As with other such studies, this one raises concerns about the potential for toxics to enter the food chain through plastic pollution, according to researcher Julia Reisser:

"We know that plastic is ingested by a broad range of organisms. What concerns me most is that these plastics are loaded with pollutants, such as fertilisers, because the plastic acts as a sponge for other things. "This can be transferred via small fish to bigger fish and then us. It impacts the whole food chain. There has been research that shows toxins from plastics are causing tumours on the livers of some fish."

Reseachers say the only long-term pollution is to decrease plastic waste by decreasing the production of disposable plastic packaging.

Clearly, plastic marine pollution is a worldwide problem. But local communities are stepping up to the challenge by passing bans on polystyrene food containers and disposable plastic grocery bags.

Check out our website for more information about plastic pollution and waste.

Photo credit: the guardian/Alex Hofford/EPA

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