“Microplastics are insidious and now cover large areas of our planet,” Mary Crowley, Founder and President of Ocean Voyages Institute, wrote to Salon. “Besides being found in the deepest part of our ocean, the Mariana Trench, microplastics are also found atop the Rocky Mountains, the Pyrenees Mountains, the Arctic, the Antarctic and throughout the world’s oceans and deserts — everywhere!” Even worse, because plastic is not biodegradable (that is, able to decompose because bacteria or other organisms consume it), it is going to stick around for centuries.
“Microplastics end up being ingested by small organisms which are in turn ingested by larger organisms such as fish and birds and via this route, plastic enters into our planet’s food web making its way up the food chain,” Crowley explained. “Microplastics and larger pieces of plastic are now commonly found filling the stomachs of fish, birds, whales, dolphins, seals and turtles, causing illness and mortality.”
Plastic pollution in Ghana, 2018
A stream in the Madagascar district in Douala flooded with plastics.
Great Blue Heron capturing a fish in a plastic bags — birds and other wildlife regularly consume plastic when it gets entangled with or confused with food.