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Locked [Animals] Unexpected danger.. Plastic reaches the guts of marine creatures at great depths


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Mohammad ALHADDAD

Due to the high cost and the long time it takes to explore the deep seas, most of the studies on plastic pollutants were until recently not exceeding the study of pollution in surface waters, which shows a high level of plastic pollution in fish, turtles, whales and seabirds.

 

Plastic is seen floating in the Adriatic sea in National Park Kornati, Croatia, May 11, 2018. Picture taken May 11, 2018. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

 

But a new study published last week in the journal "Royal Society Open Science" revealed that plastic fragments were found in the intestines of animals that live in the deepest trenches of the ocean, which indicates a danger that was not previously expected.

The world produces more than 300 million tons of plastic annually, and there are at least five trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans, and microplastic particles are dumped directly into the seas through waterways and rivers, or are formed when large pieces of plastic break down over time.

Anatomy of samples
The study, prepared by a team of British researchers, monitors cases of ingestion of marine species such as small shrimp and plastic fragments in six of the deepest ocean trenches in the world, such as the Mariana Trench in the eastern Philippines, which is the deepest trench on Earth, where 100% of the animals studied contained Plastic fibers in their guts.

In the study, the researchers conducted a dissection of 65 samples of marine animals, of which the intestines contained more than 72% of at least one microplastic.

 

هناك ما لا يقل عن خمسة تريليونات قطعة بلاستيكية تطفو في محيطاتنا (غيتي)

 

Alan Jamieson, a professor at the College of Natural and Environmental Sciences at Newcastle University and the principal investigator of the study, said in a statement to Al Jazeera Net that the research team had expected to find traces of plastic pollution, but it was not expected that the pollution rate would be 100%, which caused the researchers' surprise to find traces of plastic pollution. This ratio is at the deepest ocean depths.

"We realized that over the course of the decade-old scouting missions, dozens of specimens of a type of small shrimp that live between 6,000 and 11,000 meters below sea level had accumulated," Jamison added.

The researchers also found traces of plastic pollutants in the "Peru-Chile" trench in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, about 15,000 km from the Japan Trench.

There are at least five trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans (Getty Images)
There are at least five trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans (Getty Images)
exceptional risk
According to the lead researcher, "The important point of the study is that plastic pollutants are found in abundance in the guts of marine animals throughout the Pacific Ocean at exceptional depths."

Jamieson assumes that pollutants reaching such abysmal depths mean they are present in all open oceans and seas.

The study concluded that it is not clear whether the particles were ingested by fish at higher depths near the surface of the sea and then died and sank, or whether these particles reached the ocean floor and were swallowed up by fish and other marine animals.

The researchers concluded by comparing other pollutants in the guts of fish - such as fabric fibers - with plastic pieces, that the latter is several years older than the fibers, as it appears from its interaction with water and the guts of the organism.

The study warns that the wide spread of plastic pollutants and their reaching even the extreme depths of the oceans threaten the life of people who feed on fish that ingest these pollutants, in addition to harming fisheries, as millions of fish die annually because of plastic pollutants.

 

https://www.aljazeera.net/news/science/2019/3/5/خطر-استثنائي-قطع-البلاستيك-في-أحشاء

 

 

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