Ocean Recovery Alliance

Microplastics 'Pose Toxic Threat to Marine Biodiversity'

By Mark Kinver

- Published on December 1, 2013 by BBC News

An Article published by BBC News highlights the connection between marine plastic pollution and it's potentially deleterious effect on worms nicknamed the "eco-engineers".  The burrows produced by the lugworms can change the entire assemblage of animals in the surrounding ecosystem.  The findings of the study thus show a considerable danger to the entire ecosystem.

"Tiny particles of waste plastic that are ingested by shoreline 'eco-engineer' worms may be negatively affecting biodiversity, a study says.

So-called microplastics may be able to transfer toxic pollutants and chemicals into the guts of lugworms, reducing the animals' functions.

An estimated 150 million tonnes vanishes from the global waste-stream each year.

The findings have been published in the academic journal Current Biology.

'We are losing a large volume of plastic and we know it is going into the environment and the assumption being made by policymakers is that this material is non-hazardous, it has got the same ranking as scraps of food,' explained co-author Mark Browne, an ecologist from the US-based National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis."

Read the full article and see more of BBC News: Science and Environment here.

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