Study estimates 14 million tonnes of microplastics on sea floor

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) which is an Australia science agency have studied that 14 million tonnes of harmful microplastics are present in the bottom of the world’s deep oceans. The accumulation of this chunk of plastic is the result of pervasive use of plastic.

Findings

  • The agency analysed the 380 km of deep ocean from the coast of South Australia.
  • They found that, amount of plastic particles on the seafloor was  double the amount of plastic pollution on the surface of the sea globally.

What are microplastics?

Microplastics are small pieces of plastics having size of 5mm. Some of them are equivalent to the size of a rice grain. They include small pieces of degraded plastic, synthetic fibres and plastic beads that are used in cosmetic items , toothpaste and even in laundry powder soaps. Microplastics are the result of larger plastic debris degrading into smaller pieces.

How do microplastics transported to Ocean bed?

They are transported to the ocean bed by Deep sea currents. Further, plastics can sink down after they are attacked by Algae.

Why microplastics are threat to marine life?

The microplastics are harmful for marine life because marine life is dependent on the ocean currents for their survival. Ocean currents carry the oxygenated water and nutrients to see floor Hotspots on which marine ecosystem survives. If the microplastics increase in the ocean water the currents will carry these tiny substances along with nutrients and silt. The microorganisms will end up ingesting these microplastics and thus the marine hotspot begins to deteriorate.

Concerns

Every year, millions tonnes of plastic goes into oceans. Irrespective of the fact that efforts are being made to reduce the use of plastics, volume of plastics in the marine environment is increasing day by day.

Plastic ban

The Netherlands became the first nation to ban plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products in 2014. later, in 2015, United States banned its use. But other countries continue to use them. India have also targeted to completely ban single use plastic by 2022.