Arrow worms are transparent torpedo-shaped animals. They live in the sea from zooplankton. For the first time a film has been made showing how an arrow worm ingests a plastic microfiber. The digestive canal of an arrow worm (Sagitta setosa) is the same length as the body of the animal itself. The fiber curls blocking its digestive tract, preventing the consumption of other food.
Richard Kirby is a British specialist in plankton research. He often comes across plastic in plankton, but saw this for the first time. The penetration of microfibers into the food chain is a gradual and invisible process which is taking place all over the world. It´s usually the larger mammals which swallow or get caught up in plastic that get the attention, but this video shows how plastic is infiltrating ecosystems.
Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation: “These fibers mainly originate from synthetic clothing which is washed in washing machines. We are finding out more and more about the disastrous effects microplastics are having on the environment. This amazing video brings it home to us that tackling this form of pollution must be given the highest priority.”