"At least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year, and plastic makes up 80% of all marine debris found from surface waters to deep-sea sediments. Marine species ingest or are entangled by plastic debris, which causes severe injuries and death" - International Union for Conservation of Nature
Three hundred million tonnes of plastics are produced every year and increasingly this plastic is reaching the ocean. Marine animals either try to eat it or become entangled in the plastics which can result in death. Plastics are found on the shorelines of every continent and the main sources of ocean plastics are land based. Microplastics are plastics that have broken down from UV radiation, wind, currents or other natural factors, to under 5 mm across. Micro-plastics are now found in human blood, human breast milk and in Antarctic ice.
Numerous studies have focused on the impacts that the ingestion of physical plastics have on the health of seabirds, but a recent study from Tasmania’s Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) has discovered for the first time a plastic-induced sickness present in flesh-footed shearwaters that otherwise appear healthy. This is the first time this has been detected in animals. Flesh-footed shearwaters have been in decline across the south-west Pacific Ocean and WA’s south coast. More information about this research can be found here.
Currently Tasmania is the last State in Australia that has not banned Problematic Single-Use Plastics (PSUPS).