Seabirds are just some of the thousands of marine species affected; if fish are eating plastic that plastic moves up the food chain.
Graphical abstract from Science Direct.
Once in the water plastic breaks down into microplastics – tiny particles less than five millimeters in size.
‘These microplastics can act like sponges – attracting persistent pollutants like chemical fertilizers and pesticides’ explains Rachel Sarnoff – executive director of 5 Gyres – one of several organizations working to combat the problem of plastic pollution and highlighting what can be done about it.
‘Tiny organisms eat these toxic microplastics – then are eaten by small fish and then by larger animals’ she says.