General, Research, Technology

How does plastic trash affect fish health?

We have already mentioned many times that ourthe planet is literally littered with plastic debris. Bottles, packaging bags and other plastic products can be seen with the naked eye, but there are also microscopic particles invisible to us in the world - microplastic. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, annually about 9.5 million tons of microplastics enter the world ocean and all these particles enter the organisms of marine mammals, crustaceans, fish, and even humans. Once in the human body, microscopic particles affect the intestines, liver and other vital organs. But how do they affect the health of fish? Scientists from the US state of North Carolina have found that because of plastic debris, we can lose many species of fish.

This is how the fish that participated in the experiment looked like

Microplastic - These are particles of plastic, less than five millimeters (but most often almost invisible to the eye). They are found in drinking water, sea salt sold in stores, and even alcoholic beverages.

Harm microplastics

About the study and its resultswrote the New Atlas publication, citing the scientific journal PLoS ONE. To find out how microplastic affects the health of fish, scientists conducted an experiment. They poured water with a high content of microscopic plastic particles into the aquarium and placed 27 fish of the Japanese oryzia species (Oryzias latipes) into the tank. Freshwater fish stayed in the aquarium for 21 days, after which the researchers found out how much plastic affected their health.

Japanese oryzia is a species of fish that is common in Asian countries and has a length of not more than 3.2 centimeters

Studying the appearance of fish, scientists noticed that in theirgills formed more mucus than usual. They also reported changes within the cells that make up the gills. This may be a hint that microplastic penetrated the bloodstream of fish and literally flooded fish organisms. According to the author of the scientific work Melissa Chernik, such changes can worsen the breathing of fish and make them weak. It turns out that if microscopic particles of plastic do not disappear from the oceans, many fish species can die out due to a lack of oxygen. In addition, they can be eaten by predators, who can easily catch weakened prey.

Microplastic looks something like this, but these are even larger particles. There are less.

What is strange, under the influence of microplastics,females began to produce more caviar. Does this mean that the life of fish will become shorter, but nothing threatens their populations? It is only clear that microscopic plastic somehow affects the endocrine system of fish, which affects the growth and development of the body, and is also responsible for reproduction.

Endocrine system - This is a system that regulates the functioning of internal organs, with the help of hormones.

Where does microplastic come from?

In the end, again, it turns out thathumanity is very harmful to nature. Microscopic plastic gets into water from a variety of sources, but mainly - when we throw away or wash away cosmetics, household chemicals, clothes and other things in the production of which plastic was somehow involved. In addition, microscopic particles break away from "large" plastic objects, such as bottles, packages, and so on.

Possibly fish killed by plastic trashcan be avoided, because in 2019 an Irish student created a water purifier for plastic. You can read about the wonderful fluid in our special material.

All this plastic poisons almost everythingliving things on our planet. Microscopic particles were found not only inside the fish, but also in many unobvious animals like earthworms. And there is nothing to talk about people - in 2019, a large concentration of 11 types of microplastics was found in the organisms of 97% of German children.