When Plankton Eating Plastic Is NOT Good News

There’s something scarier than sharks in both fresh and sea water scientists have discovered. Tiny plankton called rotifers – so small that around 20,000 of them could be in a single liter of water – eat, split apart and then excrete tiny bits of plastic from the microplastics that are already in the water. Microplastics are pieces of plastic less than 5mm in size but only those that are 1/100th of that size can be ingested by the rotifers.

Even on this size-restricted diet the thousands of species of rotifers around the globe are taking the plastic already in water and turning them into a staggering number of much smaller particles called nanoparticles that “are probably more dangerous for living organisms than microplastics because they are more abundant and reactive.”

Bottom line is that we need to reduce our reliance on plastic to reduce production and find methods with what already exists since we know it is notoriously difficult to efficiently recycle. 

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