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Bioplastic bags endangers life at ocean floor

Many organisms, animals and plants alike, live on or in the sediment. Plastic bags that sink to the bottom of the water can close of a part of the sediment. It was already known that microorganisms that get trapped under a plastic bag die because of a lack of oxygen, light and food. Italian scientists have now studied the effects that biodegradable plastic bags have on the sediments of the Mediterranean Sea. Bags made from natural materials are increasing as an alternative for plastic bags made from oil. It turnes out however, that the biodegradable bags barely break down: they weighed 85% of their original weight. If they sink to the bottom, they end up on big fields of seagrass, which is an important part of the marine ecosystem. Because of a lack of oxygen, the balance between the grass and animal species started to shift. This can have severe consequences fot the ecosystem. The researchers even fear that these important seagrass habitats will be severely threatened because of this.

Click here to read more about how plastic soup threatens animals.

Picture: seacyprus.org