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Overview of the biological effects of lost and discarded plastic debris in the marine environment
Laist, D.W. (1987). Overview of the biological effects of lost and discarded plastic debris in the marine environment. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 18(6): 319-326
In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. Macmillan: London. ISSN 0025-326X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Drowning; Ingestion; Marine birds; Marine environment; Marine fish; Marine mammals; Marine organisms; Marine pollution; Plastics; Pollution effects; Marine

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  • Laist, D.W.

    In the past 30 years, the use of plastics and other synthetic materials has expanded at a rapid pace. The accumulating debris poses increasingly significant threats to marine mammals, seabirds, turtles, fish, and crustaceans. The threats are straightforward and primarily mechanical. Individual animals may become entangled in loops or openings of floating or submerged debris or they may ingest plastic materials. Animals that become entangled may drown, have their ability to catch food or avoid predators impaired, or incur wounds from abrasive or cutting action of attached debris. Ingested plastics may block digestive tracts, damage stomach linings, or lessen feeding drives. Developing information suggests that the mechanical effects of these materials affect many marine species in many ocean areas, and that these effects justify recognition of persistent plastic debris as a major form of ocean pollution.

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