Discarded fishing equipment cause serious injuries to sea animals. Photo: Harmony Foundation.

Plastic Causes Serious Injuries for Sea Animals

Every fish living in the oceans has plastic in its system. 95% of water birds have plastic adhered to their digestive systems. Plastic debris has been found from over 260 species altogether.

From all the waste in the oceans, plastic debris is the main cause of damage to sea animals. Plastic debris in the ocean causes injuries and fatalities in two different ways: either the animals get tangled up in the debris or they ingest it, thinking it is nutrition.

Tangling up in discarded fishing equipment, such as nets or lines and other plastic waste, such as six pack rings, can cause serious injuries or cause fatalities by drowning, suffocating and strangling the animals or by inhibiting consumption.

The greatest danger in ingesting plastic debris from the ocean lies in the plastic particles’ ability to clog up the alimentary tract or fill up the stomach causing malnutrition, starvation and possibly death.

At least 267 different species are known to suffer from tangling up in the debris or ingesting it. The primary sufferers are seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales, and fish.

More information:

UNEP-publication: Plastic Debris in the World's Oceans

UNEP-publication: Plastic Debris in the Ocean

UNEP-publication: Marine Litter: A Global Challenge

Päivitetty viimeksi: 18.6.2014