Plankton to Plastic Pollution

Green Teacher

The amount of plastic in the oceans has risen with the near exponential increase in plastic production and use in the last 15 years. Plastics can facilitate the introduction of non-invasive species, entangle organisms, concentrate toxic chemicals, and reduce an organism’s appetite. Plastics weather by breaking down into smaller pieces called microplastics. Microplastics are small non-biodegradable pieces (less than 5 mm) that persist and become a permanent part of the marine environment and create multiple hazards to ocean life. Microplastics represent a threat to life in our oceans — a threat that must be addressed through education and public policy. Unfortunately, even some of our most effective methods for educating the public about ocean environments, such as public aquariums, often present ocean environments as pristine with no pollution. This is simply not true. We must do a better job and realize that even though the oceans are vast animal life has to live in them.

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