In heavily polluted areas, if plastic pollution continues to intensify, whales may eat 150 million micro plastic particles every day.

  • 2022-11-04
In heavily polluted areas, if plastic pollution continues to intensify, whales may eat 150 million micro plastic particles every day.

A large number of plastic wastes are dumped in the environment, and micro plastics are polluting the whole earth. According to the Guardian on November 1, a study shows that whales consume millions of micro plastic pollution particles every day, which makes them the largest consumer of plastic waste on the earth.

Recently, an article published by Nature Communications magazine introduced a study by American scientist Shirel Kahane Rapport, a researcher at California State University Fullerton. The study combined a series of measurements to estimate the intake of microplastics by whales (blue whales, fin whales and humpback whales) off the coast of California, United States.

These three species of whales are not only huge, but also have a characteristic that they usually feed at a depth of 50 to 250 meters (165 to 820 feet) underwater. According to Kahane Rapport, this depth is exactly the "place where micro plastics are most concentrated" in the ocean.

According to relevant data, it is estimated that a blue whale can ingest about 10 million micro plastic particles at most every day, which means that after eating for 3-4 months, a blue whale can ingest up to 1 billion micro plastic particles. In this quarter alone, the weight of plastic consumed by blue whales ranged from 0.23 to 4 tons.

After collecting data in coastal waters of California, researchers warned that whales could eat 150 million microplastics every day in heavily polluted areas if plastic pollution continues to increase. In addition, scientists say that micro plastic pollution is more serious in other parts of the world.

The damage of microplastics to whales is enormous. Previous research by scientists has found that there are plastic derived pollutants in whale blubber, which may cause them to be damaged by microplastics and toxic chemicals carried by them. However, the researchers have not yet given a final conclusion on the specific health harm.

The researchers pointed out that only by understanding the intake rate of micro plastics and their impact on marine wildlife can we solve the challenge of plastic waste to conservation work.

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