Just when it seems we have finally realized the danger posed by the accumulation of plastic in the sea, the accidental dumping of more than 26,000 kilograms of this material into the sea Galician waters caused networks to explode due to the lack of a contingency plan to shut them down quickly. Near plastic granules which were transported to Portuguese ship Toconao last Monday, January 8th, when one of his barrels accidentally fell into the water.

The contents spread across the waters of Galicia, but they have also begun to be discovered in Asturias and it is possible that they will reach the Basque Country. There has been much controversy about its risks. Most scientists and all environmental associations that have spoken on the issue warn of the environmental disaster it represents, while other scientists call for calm, ensuring that the fact that plastic pellets pollute the environment does not mean they toxic.

Despite this, in a statement released prosecutor’s office who takes over the matter, declares them non-biodegradable and showing signs of toxicity. What are these plastic pellets and why is their dumping into the sea such a concern?

Plastic granules: raw material for almost everything

The plastics industry typically produces its products from plastic pellets. These are small spheres of specified material, usually less than 5 millimeters in size, that can be melted to produce any product. That is why they were being transported by a Portuguese ship when the incident occurred. But what are its risks?

Pellets can be made from any type of plastic, so they can have varying degrees of toxicity. However, even if they were among the most harmless plastics, they are still dangerous to aquatic ecosystems for several reasons.

First, given their shape and size, they can look like fish eggs, which is why some species, including some birds, they eat them by mistake. Even if it wasn’t immediately toxic, their stomach would remain full and they could starve to death without eating anything that actually nourishes them.

On the other hand, it could be so accurate. really toxic substances from an aqueous environment stick to the surface of plastic granules. Likewise, some Pathogenic bacteria They could reproduce in the form of films, for example, on a kitchen rag.

This would make its use dangerous. On the other hand, since they cannot be decomposed, they will continue to be transported to food chain. Animals that eat each other also incorporate plastic pellets into their bodies. And thus, they may eventually return to people.

All types of plastic products can be produced from pellets. Photo: Jonathan Khan (Unsplash)

The dangers of microplastics

Plastic granules cannot be considered microplastics as their size is much larger. However, if they spend a lot of time in the water, they can turn into smaller piecesgiving rise to those tiny particles that carry so many risks to humans. marine ecosystems. This would include consumption by filter-feeding species, placing them even lower on the food chain.

So there are many reasons to try to find a quick solution to this plastic granule problem. Whatever their toxicity, they pose a danger to the environment. From the fact that thousands of plastic balls falling into the sea are unnatural, to all the risks they pose to the ecosystem.

Source: Hiper Textual

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