Biologists are concerned by preliminary data showing that the ocean’s largest filter-feeding marine animals now exhibit increasing levels of microplastic contamination. Data gathered from tissue samples raise suspicions that plastic-based sea pollution may be partly responsible for malnutrition in growth and development of marine animals and possibly even the decline in reproduction of the world’s already endangered giant sea creatures. Few studies are underway to determine what role plastic-based ocean pollution plays in the health and reproduction of threatened great sharks and whales.
- Microplastics in the ocean pose a danger to whales and sharks.
- Microplastics, which are 5mm or less in size are digested by whales and sharks due to them being too small to be filtered out naturally.
- Phthatlates and heavy metals are toxic substances that are found in the microplastics that float in and on top of the ocean water.
“A new study has found whales and whale sharks – the largest fish in the world – are ingesting microplastics in alarming quantities.”