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Microplastic pollution: Scientists are still learning how it harms wildlife

Plastic pollution is a growing global concern. Large pieces of plastic have been found almost everywhere on Earth, from the most visited beaches to remote, uninhabited islands. Because wildlife are regularly exposed to plastic pollution, we often ask what effects plastics have on the animals. Over time, macroplastics (plastic debris larger than five millimeters in size) break up into tiny particles called microplastics (smaller than five millimeters), which can persist in the environment for hundreds of years. Macroplastics are known to cause detrimental effects for wildlife. Individual animals can ingest large pieces or become entangled in plastic items, such as fishing gear, and suffocate or starve to death. Although there is no question that macroplastics are harmful to wildlife, the effects of microplastics are not as straightforward. Read more....

 

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