The inundation of our oceans with plastics is yielding more and more signs that catastrophic shifts in tolerance may be very close. Floating plastic islands, tragic images of seabirds bloated with ingested plastic – and now the depressing news that microplastics (in this case tiny polystyrene beads) also enter crabs via their gills and have a 6-fold greater residence time in the body compared to ingested plastics. The study on ghost crabs is reported by a team from the University of Exeter in the UK (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es501090e).
Surely given the level of awareness about plastics and their persistence, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to choose ‘styrofoam’ disposable cups, lunch boxes and packaging these days – alternatives using renewable materials are widely available – please think about this next time you buy a coffee, a takeaway or a TV.
If you need more convincing look at this picture of the beach in my old home of Discovery Bay in Hong Kong – tragic