Science

Researchers find Microplastic in Deep-Water Fish

GP News
19 February 2018 - 12:20 PM
Science
Plastic is the most prevalent type of marine debris found in our ocean and Great Lakes. Plastic debris can come in all shapes and sizes, but those that are less than five millimeters  in length (or about the size of a sesame seed) are called “microplastics.”Microplastics come from a variety of sources, including from larger plastic debris that degrades into smaller and smaller pieces. In addition, microbeads, a type of microplastic, are very tiny pieces of manufactured polyethylene plastic that are added as exfoliants to health and beauty products, such as some cleansers and toothpastes. These tiny particles easily pass through water filtration systems and end up in the ocean and Great Lakes, posing a potential threat to aquatic life. In a recent and interesting study  by a team at NUI Galway’s school of natural sciences found 73% of the fish they analysed had microplastic fragments in their stomachs.The lead author is Alina Wieczorek, a PhD student at NUI Galway’s zoology department, who conducted the research with colleagues from the university’s Ryan Institute, earth and ocean sciences, and its Marine Renewable Energy Ireland research centre.The study’s co-author, Tom Doyle of the Ryan Institute, said it shows that even seemingly remote fish thousands of kilometres from land and 600 m down in the ocean are not isolated from the pollution.
The Irish Examiner reports  "While most of these micro-plastics float near the surface of the ocean, the new research shows their occurrence was much higher than previously reported at deeper levels."