96 pieces of plastic less than 5mm wide were found in an analysis of an ice core that was drilled in 2009. These microplastics have been previously found in snow and also on the surface of Antarctica’s waters but never in ice.
This study showed that the presence of plastic in the ice could
affect the krill in the region. Krill feeds on the ice and this level of
exposure of plastic in the ice could have monumental consequences on the food
Whales feed on the krill and scientists are now concerned about
the accumulation of plastic in whales. One scientist working in the study said,
“When you think now that sea ice algae is associated to plastics, you can think
about the bioaccumulation of the plastics in krill and in whales.”
It’s not just whales but multiple sea predators that rely on krill as their primary source of food. This level of plastic could contaminate entire ecosystems.
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