Mack­erel study points to plas­tics crisis

Bangkok Post - - FRONT PAGE - METHEE MUANGKAEW

TRANG: Af­ter find­ing mi­croplas­tics in the stom­achs of mack­erel caught in this south­ern province, re­searchers are ex­pand­ing their study to in­clude fish meat and shell­fish.

Saowalak Khaosaeng, a re­search as­sis­tant at the pro­vin­cial Marine Na­tional Park Op­er­a­tion Cen­tre, said an ini­tial study had in­di­cated sea de­bris was hav­ing an im­pact on the marine food chain off Hat Chao Mai beach, an im­por­tant habi­tat for com­mer­cial fish.

Re­searchers at the cen­tre then col­lected mack­erel from coastal fish­er­men near the Hat Chao Mai Na­tional Park, and ex­am­ined their stom­achs. They found an av­er­age of 78 pieces of mi­croplas­tic, 1-5 mil­lime­tres across, in the stom­ach of each mack­erel.

Ocean cur­rents and salti­ness breaks down plas­tic waste into mi­croplas­tic, which the mack­erel mis­take for food, Ms Saowalak said.

The cen­tre plans to ex­pand its mi­croplas­tics re­search to in­clude mack­erel meat and other pop­u­lar com­mer­cial marine life, in­clud­ing shell­fish, she said.

“This re­search is in­tended to make peo­ple aware of how waste should be dis­posed of and also to re­veal the cur­rent con­di­tion of our ecosys­tems,” Ms Saowalak said.

“Sea de­bris has be­come a crisis. Ev­ery­one should help solve the prob­lem at its root, es­pe­cially by re­duc­ing the amount of waste we dump.”

She said many marine crea­tures were con­tam­i­nated by plas­tic de­bris.

PHO­TOS BY MARINE NA­TIONAL PARKS OP­ER­A­TIONS CEN­TRE 3 IN TRANG

Marine sci­en­tists at the Depart­ment of Na­tional Parks, Wildlife and Plant Con­ser­va­tion ex­am­ine mi­croplas­tics in the stom­ach of a short mack­erel that was caught in the south­ern province of Trang.

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