Plastic waste isn’t edible, so why do marine animals mistake it for food?
We often hear about sea creatures or seabirds dying because they’ve eaten plastic, which clogs their stomachs. How does this happen?
A lot of sea animals and birds eat plastic because, after it’s been in seawater for 7 days, it releases dimethyl sulfide (DMS). This chemical smells like food to sea creatures. Plastic waste also often has a color and form that can confuse hungry sea life. Sea turtles, for example, can confuse plastic bags for jellyfish.
When we use plastic, we must take care it doesn’t escape into the sea, where it could harm creatures for many years.
Credit: BBC Earth