A lot of individuals do not have a clear picture of the effects of plastic pollution on marine life, leading them to be apathetic in the fight against it. Plastic has only been around for the last seven decades yet it has already caused irreversible damages to the world, particularly on the vulnerable sea creatures. These non-biodegradable materials cause serious harm in the form of pollution. Read on below to find out more about its negative effects.
Disrupts The Nutrient Balance
Microplastics are small plastics that measure about five millimeters in size. They pose a threat to various underwater organisms despite their small size. There are filter feeders like whales or manta rays that feed themselves by filtering water. These animals often accidentally ingest the microplastics which cause digestive issues. These microplastics also contain harmful chemicals that can severely damage the health of various animals. The problem with this is that the harms on these filter feeders snowball into larger harms that affect ecosystems underwater.
You might be familiar with sad news articles featuring dead animals, washed ashore, with their stomachs filled with plastic materials. The larger debris often looks like food to them and not all of them are with identifying plastics from food. A turtle’s favorite food is a jellyfish and one floating bag of plastic can easily look like jellyfish. They can ingest the plastic which bloats in their stomach or clogs their digestive tract. There is actually a prediction that plastic pollution can lead to the extinction of about seven hundred species.
Destroy Coral Reefs
Another serious harm brought about by plastic pollution is the destruction of coral reefs. Coral reefs are more than just formations at the bottom of the sea. They serve as the habitat of numerous fishes and other life forms. These are also responsible for the quality of the water. They adjust the nitrogen and carbon levels in the water to make it habitable. They also produce various essential nutrients to cater to the animals in a certain marine food chain. Even humans benefit from coral reefs. However, their presence underwater breaks wave action to prevent it from snowballing into a full tsunami.
Plastic Pollution Is Toxic
Plastic pollution does not only affect marine organisms. However, linking everything in nature to form an elaborate food chain, other animals. The harmful chemicals present in plastic is ingested by small marine animals. They house plastic in their guts and poison in their bloodstreams. Also, these harmful elements will be passed on to whichever predator eats them. This leads to a domino effect that affects virtually everyone in the ecosystem. Even human beings are affected once we accidentally ingest a fish-filled with harmful and toxic elements.