School Email Exchange

Based on your research, what do you think is the worst type of plastic for the ocean?

Posted on November 08 2012

Question submitted by Pacific Boychoir Academy

This is a difficult question to answer.  If the plastic looks like food it is dangerous to the ocean’s animals.  If it is a lost fishing net (ghost net) it drifts through the ocean continuing to catch fish and drown marine mammals and sea turtles that get caught in it.

How additives to plastic, some toxic, might harm the sea life that ingest it is still being researched.  The plastic that has broken down into microscopic pieces that persist in the ocean might end up being the most dangerous because it can be ingested so easily, by even zooplankton.  

Most of our analysis won’t begin until we are back on shore and the samples we’ve collected get to scientists in their labs.  Then, given time, we might have more specific answers to this question.