Date:February 17, 2016
Source:Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
Contrary to previous belief, new research has shown that microplastics are not a significant source of environmental pollutants in fulmars. Seabirds ingest most of these pollutants through food, the researchers concluded.
Millions of tons of plastic float around in the world's oceans, most of it as microplastics. Waves, wind and weather wear down the waste material until it is reduced to microscopic particles that remain in the sea for a long time. Littering of the world's oceans is a major environmental problem, as it is in Norway too.
It is not unusual for the microplastics to end up in the stomach of marine organisms, where it can do great harm. An additional cause of concern is the environmental pollutants linked to plastic. Even though not all plastics contain hazardous substances, plastic has the ability to bind fat-soluble organic pollutants from the environment to itself. Thus, it reflects the concentration of environmental pollutants in the sea.