Research: Plastic Pollution in Water

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Solutions to Plastic Pollution in our Oceans
The Basics
We 're treating the oceans like a trash bin: around 80 percent of marine litter originates on land, and most of that is plastic. Plastic that pollutes our oceans and waterways has severe impacts on our environment and our economy. Seabirds, whales, sea turtles and other marine life are eating marine plastic pollution and dying from choking, intestinal blockage and starvation. Scientists are investigating the long-term impacts of toxic pollutants absorbed, transported, and consumed by fish and other marine life, including the potential effects on human health.
What it means to you
Plastic pollution affects every waterway, sea and ocean in the world. When we damage our water
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Seabirds that feed on the ocean surface are especially prone to ingesting plastic debris that floats. Adults feed these items to their chicks resulting in detrimental effects on chick growth and survival.8 One study found that approximately 98% of chicks sampled contained plastic and the quantity of plastic being ingested was increasing over time.9
Because persistent organic pollutants in the marine environment attach to the surface of plastic debris, floating plastics in the oceans have been found to accumulate pollutants and transport them through ocean currents.10 Floating and migrating plastic debris has also been found to transport invasive marine species.11 Increasingly, research shows that marine life that ingests plastics coated with pollutants can absorb these pollutants their bodies.
Plastic debris is polluting the human food chain. In a 2008 Pacific Gyre voyage, Algalita researchers began finding that fish are ingesting plastic fragments and debris. Of the 672 fish caught during that voyage, 35% had ingested plastic pieces.
The plastics industry, through the leadership of the American Chemical Council (ACC), spends millions of dollars each year to convince policy makers and Californians that solutions to plastic pollution lie in anti-litter campaigns that attribute the responsibility for marine debris on individual behavior. Yet they have devoted little funding to public education and much more on promoting
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