It has been suggested that 10 per cent of plastic which is thrown away ends up in the marine environment
The tiny plastic particles polluting our seas are not only orally ingested by marine creatures, but also enter their systems through their gills, according to a new study led by the University of Exeter.
Scientists also discovered that when microplastics are drawn in through this method they take over six times longer to leave the body compared with standard digestion.
Lead author Dr Andrew Watts of Biosciences at the University of Exeter said: “Many studies on microplastics only consider ingestion as a route of uptake into animals. The results we have just published stress other routes such as ventilation. We have shown this for crabs, but the same could apply for other crustaceans, molluscs and fish – simply any animal which draws water into a gill-like structure to carry out gas exchange.
“This is highly important from an ecological point of view, as if these plastics are retained longer within the animal there is more chance of them being passed up the food chain.”