The Canadian scientific journal Archives of Environmental Pollution and Toxicology published Ingestion of Microplastics by Zooplankton in the Northeast Pacific Ocean " , which presents the results of a study of this problem for zooplankton of two species : copepods and euphausiids. These zooplankton species (at 3% and 6% respectively) are already eating microscopic pieces of plastic as food, which poses a significant threat to the entire food chain.
Peter Ross, co-author of the study and director of the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Pollution Research Program in Canada, said the results of this study confirm for the first time that zooplankton naturally eat plastic. Previously, scientists only assumed this and reproduced it in their laboratories. Zooplankton ingest so-called microplastics in search of small-sized food, such as single-celled diatoms or phytoplankton. Microplastics are microscopic pieces of plastic or plastic fibers that were originally created in this form or became so during the decomposition of large pieces of plastic in nature. Both types of microplastics are common in the world's oceans, but a recent study recorded the presence of only one of them in zooplankton - decomposed plastic of an initially large size.
A scientific article states that salmon, which originated in the rivers of British Columbia (a province in Canada) and went to the sea as adults, consume 2 to 7 microplastic particles daily only by eating zooplankton. If you look at larger animals like humpback whales (humpback whales), they eat about 1.5% of their body weight every day in the form of krill and zooplankton, which means they ingest 300,000 microplastic particles every day.
Despite the noticeable harm to the entire ecosystem, the authors of the study believe that the current level of eating microplastics by zooplankton is not yet critical for people who eat fish. However, it is obvious that if the number of microplastics increases due to human activities, the situation will worsen.
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