Plastic debris polluting one of the world’s remotest location in the Arctic

Plastic is one of the significant contributors to the overall world pollution statistics. After ruling over the land area, forming huge heaps of plastic materials, it has reached highly remote locations like the Arctic Ocean. The use of plastic is so exceedingly uncontrollable that it has entered the oceans and covered millions of miles to explore the farthest corners of the world. Scientists have discovered that the plastic waste in the ocean is now so widespread that it is polluting the remote ice floes in the Arctic.
Polystyrene blocks were found in areas hundreds of miles away from land which until recently were covered by ice all year round by a team from Exeter University. When large plastic pieces break down into “micro-plastics,” those are consumed by the wildlife and then passed up in the food chain which can cause dangerous health issues. Due to recent reductions in summer ice cover in the Arctic, the scientists carrying the expedition were able to probe further into the central Arctic Ocean than any other yacht could have ever been able to. The reduction in the ice-covered area is speculated to be caused by climate change.
Tim Gordon, a Marine biologist from Exeter University, explained that finding pieces of rubbish like this is a disturbing sign that the melting of ice might be allowing high levels of pollutants to enter these areas which had been pollutant free until now. The discovery of plastic debris could pose a potential threat to the wildlife of Arctic’s wildlife.
A layer of ice all around acted as a barrier for outside pollutants from affecting the Arctic wildlife. Since it is melting away, this area will now be exposed to contaminants floating in from all over the world. The environment will also be exposed to commercial fishing, shipping, and industries for the first time in history.
This leaves the Arctic animals vulnerable and prone to various effects of pollution. Researchers have been trying their best to protect these animals from these new threats. This might give the arctic wildlife a fighting chance to adapt and survive in their rapidly changing habitat.
To sieve for micro-plastics in the water, the Arctic mission team used nets with holes smaller than a millimeter. All these samples will be analyzed by the team in the laboratory to evaluate the current level of pollution in the Arctic and its impact on the wildlife.
According to recent estimation, there are over 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans, and this might soon outweigh all the fishes in the oceans and seas. The plastic content floating through the oceans is so high that the scientists fear it might be enough to form a permanent layer in the fossil record.
In the words of Dr. Ceri Lewis, scientific adviser to the expedition from the University of Exeter, rivers leading into the Arctic Ocean are the source of plastic pollution which wasn’t able to enter the Arctic oceans due to the ice barrier up until now. The melting of the ice has caused the micro-plastics to be released into the ocean.

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