How does plastics move in a food chain?
Plastic is already incorporated into the food chain. Animals carry microplastics into their bodies. If you eat alone, you will also get this micro plastic.
The process is called as the "nutrient transfer" of micro plastics. When one animal eats another, micro plastics can move through the food chain.
The question is what will ha?ppen to the toxins and chemicals associated with the plastics?
When plastics invade the environment, they tend to combine with environmental pollutants. As plastics move through the food chain, attached toxins can also move and accumulate in animal fats and tissues through a process called bioaccumulation. In addition, chemicals are often added to the plastic during the manufacturing process to give it the desired properties. Second, these chemicals can leak from the plastic, even if it is inside the animal's body.
Toxins split in the food chain
Plastics are not the only way toxins such as PCBs and dioxins enter the food chain. The role of plastics in bio accumulative toxins is small compared to exposure of animals from their normal diet. Animals that excrete the ingested plastic can actually purify the body because the toxins in the body are attached to the plastic. The situation is different with plastic additives. In contrast to PCBs and dioxins, these substances have not accumulated in the food chain for decades. When Japanese researchers discovered a special flame retardant in seabird dough, it was certain that it was once derived from ingested plastic with flame retardants added.
Number of animals affected by plastic
It is very difficult to estimate the number of individual animals affected by plastic, but it will reach billions. Attempts have been made to determine the number of affected species. Currently, the number is over 2000, but keep in mind that the number affected by animal species is very limited. Not to mention the impact of plastics on the food chain, it is even more difficult to determine if plastics threaten the survival of certain species.
Arrow worms are transparent torpedo-shaped creatures that live in the ocean and hunt zooplankton. Arrow worms consume plastic microfibers. The curled fibre clogs the tube and interferes with the absorption of real food.
Fish plastic and behavioural changes
Swedish scientists have shown that nanoplastics can enter the fish's brain through the food chain and cause abnormal behavior. Algae nanoplastics are eaten by water fleas, which feed fish. This is how plastic particles move through the food chain. Researchers have performed simulations of the food chain with and without nanoplastics. Unlike fish that were not given Nano-plastics, fish that ate them showed abnormal behavior: slow diet and overactive behavior.
Slowly swimming fish are easy to prey. As such, plastic can upset the natural balance.