Marine scientists from the National University of Ireland (NUI) in Galway found the plastic bits in 73 percent of 233 deep-sea fish collected from the Northwest Atlantic Ocean—one of the highest microplastic frequencies in fish ever recorded worldwide.
According to a study from the Norwegian Polar Institute, "plastic in all sizes" can be found throughout the Norwegian Arctic and in the Svalbard islands, an archipelago between Norway's mainland and the North Pole that's also one of Earth's northernmost inhabited areas.
Filter-feeding marine animals such as manta rays and whale sharks swallow hundreds to thousands of cubic meters of water a day to capture plankton to eat. But at the same time, these gentle giants are swallowing up microplastics from plastic-filled waters or through contaminated prey.
By Imogen Calderwood
Glitter is great, right? Particularly now that it's getting dark and cold and a bit depressing outside.
But, as much as we love glitter for making everything look festive, a chain of children's nurseries in the UK might actually have a point.
By Daniel Ross
All that glitters ain't gold, or so the old adage goes. And when it comes to the glitter used in everyday cosmetics, specialty make-up, hair products and party paraphernalia, the negative effects on human health and the environment are indeed far from golden.
"They really do get into everything, and despite their tiny size, they can have a devastating impact on humans and non-human animals," wrote Trisia Farrelly, a social anthropologist at Massey University in New Zealand and an expert in waste plastics, in an email to AlterNet.
We know that plastics clog our oceans, lakes and the stomachs of marine animals, but a first-of-its-kind investigation from Orb Media found the pervasive material in tap water supplies around the world, too.
Orb, a digital media nonprofit, worked with researchers at the State University of New York and the University of Minnesota and analyzed 159 drinking water samples across five continents over a ten-month period. The results indicated that plastics are just about everywhere—83 percent of the samples tested positive for the presence of tiny plastic particles, aka microplastics.
By Louisa Casson
We know our oceans and coastlines are choking on plastic. We've all seen plastic bottles, food wrappers and plastic bags polluting beaches, and been horrified by the stories of marine creatures like seabirds and whales starving when their stomachs become packed full of plastic.
Scientists have shown that up to 12 million tonnes of plastic is entering our oceans every year—that's a rubbish truck full every minute. Single-use plastic packaging for food and drink is a particularly common part of the problem.
Australian researchers were surprised to find high concentrations of microplastics embedded in the seafloor along the southeast coast of Australia.