We already have mentioned many times that our planet is literally littered with plastic garbage. Bottles, plastic bags and other plastic products can be seen with the naked eye, but the world is also invisible to us microscopic particles of microplastics. According to the International Union for conservation of nature, every year the world ocean gets about 9.5 million tons of micro-plastic and all of these particles fall within organisms marine mammals, crustaceans, fish and even humans. Appearing in the human body, microscopic particles hit the intestines, liver and other vital organs. But how do they affect fish health? Scientists from the U.S. state of North Carolina found that because of the plastic garbage we can lose many species of fish.
The microplastics are plastic particles, less than five millimeters (but often almost invisible). They are contained in drinking water, are sold in the shops of sea salt and even alcoholic beverages.
Harm the micro-plastic
On the conducted research and its results written edition of the New Atlas, with reference to the scientific journal PLoS ONE. To find out how microplastics affect the health of fish, scientists conducted an experiment. They poured into the aquarium water with a high content of microscopic plastic particles and placed in a container of 27 fish species orisia Japanese (Oryzias latipes). Freshwater fish kept in the aquarium for 21 days, after which the researchers found out how much plastic has impacted on their health.
By studying the appearance of the fish, the scientists noticed that their gills were formed more mucus than usual. They also reported on changes within the cells that make up the gills. This may be a hint that the microplastics entered the bloodstream of the fish and flooded the fish. According to the author of the scientific work of Melissa Cernik, such changes may impair the breathing of the fish and make them weak. It turns out that if microscopic particles of plastic will not disappear from the oceans, many fish species may become extinct due to lack of oxygen. Besides, they can be eaten by predators, which is not difficult to catch a weakened prey.
Strangely, under the influence of the micro-plastic, females began to produce more calves. Does this mean that fish life will be shorter, but their populations were not in danger, is unknown. What is clear is that the microscopic plastic somehow affects the endocrine system of fish, which affects the growth and development of the organism, and is responsible for reproduction.
The endocrine system is a system that regulates the functioning of internal organs, using hormones.
The origin of microplastics?
In the end, again, it turns out that humanity is very much harmful to the nature. Microscopic plastic gets into the water from a variety of sources, but mostly when we throw away or rinse-off cosmetics, household chemicals, clothes and other things in the production of which somehow were involved plastic. In addition, microscopic particles break away from the big plastic items, like bottles, packages and so on.
Perhaps the death of the fish from the plastic waste can be avoided, because in 2019 the Irish student has created a tool for purification of water from the plastic. Of miraculous liquids can be found in our special article.