As we focus on issues such as overfishing and climate change, the issue of the enormous amount of plastics in the ocean often goes overlooked. However, according to the Plastic Oceans Foundation:
1. Over 250 species have been known to have ingested or become entangled in plastic Entanglement rates of up to 7.9% have been discovered in some species of seals and sea lions. A UNEP report estimates that around 130,000 cetaceans are caught in nets each year (US EPA, 1992). 31 species of marine mammals are known to have ingested marine plastic.
2. Over 100 species of sea birds are known to ingest plastic artifacts . According to Dr Jan Andries van Franeker, around 95% of Fulmers have plastic in their stomachs that affect them in chemical and mechanical ways
3. The increase in marine litter, in particular plastics, has resulted in a corresponding increase in species invasion. Man-made litter has resulted in a significant increase in the opportunities for the transportation of alien species. ‘Biotic mixing’ as a result of human activities is becoming a widespread problem. The hard surfaces of plastic debris is providing an attractive and alternative substrate for a number of organisms. The introduction of non-endemic species can have a catastrophic impact on indigenous species and biodiversity and the increase in synthetic and non-biodegradable material pollution will accelerate the process.
Food for thought.