These distressing photos reveal the devastating impact of the plastic crisis that is blighting the planet’s oceans. The images, which have been taken by photographers around the world, show everything from turtles trapped in fishing nets to dead whales with their bellies full of debris. Every year, humanity produces around 300 million tons of plastic, with about eight million tons of the material entering the world’s oceans—according to the United Nations Environmental Program. This flow of debris severely impacts the ocean environment and marine life. Plastic pieces are frequently ingested by a wide range of animals—either directly, by mistaking it for food, or indirectly through the consumption of prey. “Plastic pollution disrupts the normal behavior of animals, and the normal functions of ecosystems,” Elizabeth Mendenhall, from the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Marine Affairs, told Newsweek . “We have known about problems like ingestion and entanglement [in nets or lines] for many decades. These types of interaction with plastic can kill animals by strangling or suffocating them, or causing them to starve, but encounters with plastic can also have impacts short of death, like pain, lower survival rates, and loss of reproductive viability,” she said. Seabirds are especially vulnerable,… Read full this story
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