Microplastics have been found in the sea ice in Antarctica, pointing to the extend and lethality of water pollution. The findings were made in recent research which also stated that the plastic pieces were a threat to aquatic life. Previously, plastics were found in the ice sheets and surface waters but the new discovery in the seawater has caused worry to the scientists.
The result revealed the plastic in seawater could threaten Krills which feed on algae. In turn, Krills are eaten by whale and contamination could disturb the entire ecosystem. The study was published by the Institue for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania and it revealed that a total of 14 different kinds of plastics were found and an average of 12 pieces of plastics was found from per litre of water. Lead author Anna Kelly, Speaking to a UK Base media outlet, said that microplastic polymers were larger than those found in the Arctic and could indicate local pollution.
Meanwhile, another author suggested that plastics were surrounded by algae which had grown in ice. It also revealed that there was a much higher concentration of plastic at the bottom of the ice core. He added that in case, the sea ice algae gets associated with plastics, then "you could think about the bioaccumulation of the plastics in krill and in whales.” However, the authors said that more study and analysis are needed to understand the toxic impacts of the plastics on the anatomy of the species relying on the sea ice.
In other news, researchers from the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise (IMBIE) has reportedly revealed that the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are losing ice six times faster than they were back in the 1990s. As per reports, these findings are based on observations from 11 different satellite missions monitoring the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.