The rising level of micro-plastics in the Arctic sea ice is raising great concern about their impact on marine life and human being. Micro-plastics are small pieces of plastic that are less than 5mm long which could be harmful to the human being as well as marine animals. Plastics are mainly found in the marine debris of sea or lakes but that plastic that is less than 5mm long are called micro-plastics.
Not much has been known yet about the micro-plastics and their impact on the marine life. Micro-plastics come to the sea through various sources like clothes that are thrown in the sea, plastics such as polyethylene, paints, nylon, polyester and cellulose acetate which is commonly used in making cigarette filters and from larger plastic debris which is degraded into smaller and smaller pieces and become micro-plastics.
The researchers from Alfred Wegener Institute of Germany, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research found that about 12,000 of the micro-plastic particles present in the per liter of sea ice in ice core samples taken from the five regions of Arctic ocean in 2014 and 2015.
The level of nylon and paints particle are increasing because of high shipping and fishing activities in the ocean. The retreat of ice caused by climate change has increased the area of exploitation in the ocean and People has started exploiting it more than the ever before. These large-scale fishing and shipping activities are leaving their significant mark in the sea. These activities are the major culprit of the ocean.
The high level of micro-plastics pollution in the Arctic sea can’t be only attributed to the sources outside the ocean instead local pollution are also contributing to it.
Scientists are warning us because most of the particles that they have found in the research of Arctic sea ice are microscopically very small and can be easily eaten by single-celled marine organisms.
The recent research done by the Alfred Wegener Institute of Germany has revealed that the process of freeze and thaw in the Arctic is storing and transporting the plastic particles.