This story is one of a series on ocean plastics.
The oceans are teeming with plastic junk: shopping bags, water bottles, old toothbrushes, and much more. By 2020, there will be more plastic than fish in marine waters.
Over time, this rubble begins to break into near-microscopic particles. There may be 51 trillion tiny plastic pieces scattered across the world’s oceans — 500 times more than there are starrings in the galaxy. Fish, unable to discern what’s plastic and what’s meat, are eating this material. And humen, ever ravenous, eat fish — lots of them.
One in four fish has plastic in its gut, according a recent study. Plastic particles have also been found in oysters and mussels. If you feed a lot of shellfish, for example, you might be consuming 11, 000 pieces of plastic a year. The health effects of this are unknown.