Environment Impacts of Microplastics

Plastic pieces that are less than 5mm in length are called microplastics. Microplastics can be formed by fragmentation of large plastic waste material. Microfibres from washing of textiles, microbeads used in cosmetics and even paint from land run-offs can dump microplastics in the ocean.

Biomagnification refers to increasing concentration of a substance, such as a toxic chemical, in the tissues of organisms at successively higher levels in a food chain.

Biomagnification of Microplastics

  • Zooplanktons are the lowest link in the food chain. Microplastics are ingested directly by the zooplankton.
  • The zooplankton with microplastics is consumed by fish.
  • Microplastics finally reach the seal, which consumes the fish.

Harmful effects of Microplastics

  • Microplastics can settle in the stomach and lead to reduction in feeding capacity of organisms.
  • Microplastics are detrimental to the intestinal function and reproductive system.

These microplastics together with affecting marine food chain can adversely affect the human health.Seafood like shell fish are consumed as whole by humans. Therefore international cooperation is needed to achieve convergence of efforts in fight against the microplastics. [The Hindu]

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