THE PROBLEM OF PLASTIC WASTE AND MICROPLASTICS IN THE SEAS AND OCEANS: IMPACT ON MARINE ORGANISMS

THE PROBLEM OF PLASTIC WASTE AND MICROPLASTICS IN THE SEAS AND OCEANS: IMPACT ON MARINE ORGANISMSDownload filereview article
THE PROBLEM OF PLASTIC WASTE AND MICROPLASTICS IN THE SEAS AND OCEANS: IMPACT ON MARINE ORGANISMSKurtela, A., Antolović, N.Keywords:
seawastefishhuman impact

Summary

A global problem of today is the large amount of waste in the seas and oceans, primarily plastic waste. It is estimated that every year 1.25 to 2.41 million tons of plastic material is being carried by rivers into the seas and oceans. Waste is a major problem for marine organisms, causing entanglement, choking, strangulation, malnutrition and death. In 1972 the problems caused by microplastics, particles smaller than 5 mm, were first observed. Such particles bind pathogenic microorganisms on to their surface. Increasing quantities of microplastics have been found in the stomachs of fish, and also in shellfish that feed by filtering sea water. Ingested by marine organisms, such plastics may eventually pass through the food web and can end up ingested by humans. In addition, plastic releases chemical compounds whose effect on marine organisms and humans has still not been studied. Many international and state organizations offer solutions through recycling plastic waste, as well as reducing the production of plastic materials and informing the public about the problem.