Anthropogenic Plastic Debris

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The buildup of anthropogenic debris in marine environments over the past few decades has drawn a considerable amount of attention due to its negative impact on marine wildlife organisms as well as the environment. Over one million marine mammals and seabirds die every year due to the over pollution in oceans. It has been estimated that 14 billion pounds of garbage have been dumped into the ocean every year (7). Many sea creatures are victims of marine debris such as turtles, sharks as well as filter feeding zooplankton and shrimps. Degradation of sea turtle habitats due to ocean pollution is posing a serious threat to their population. Both immediate harm from direct contact as well as build up in tissues over time leads to decrease in health and ultimately death.
Microplastics are also found in surface water and tend to be more abundant than larger plastics. Microplastics are smaller sized plastics of particles with less than 5mm which are derived from large plastic items. Many industrial cleaners and personal care products are composed of microplastics which usually end up in sea water.
There were several studies done on different marine organisms that illustrated the effects of ingestion of anthropogenic plastic debris on the digestive and the threat it has on their survival. The aim of the first study was to study the effects of anthropogenic debris ingestion by the green turtles in different life stages in the uruguayan waters through evaluating internal organ damage of turtles in a time span of eight years. There were two hypothesis that were being tested in this experiment. One was that juvenile green turtles would increase debris intake due to specific dietary shifts as they age. Other being, turtles would decrease debris intake when recruit into coastal habitats. The effects were examined based on the number of green turtle mortality in the specific location and time period. The debris found were numbered and categorized based on frequency or occurrence, relative weight, volume and number of items found. In this study microplastics were not considered. The experiment resulted in the foundation of 96 dead green turtles with 70% debris found in the guts during analyzation of internal organs. With respect to turtle size and debris ingestion, it was found that a higher frequency of occurrence of debris was in the smaller and juvenile turtles which lead to green turtle vulnerability. Direct mortality was seen due to perforation and abrasions which were produced through blockage of digestive tract.
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Anthropogenic Plastic Debris. (2022, Apr 18). Retrieved October 2, 2023 , from

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