Bacteria in Ocean Plastic Wastes Continue to Survive and Thrive
Since the 1960s, plastic has been a favorite material of manufacturers for packaging their products as they are moldable, durable and versatile materials. Although popular because they are very convenient to use, they are also non-biodegradable; which means they do not decompose naturally and remain in land and in bodies of water for thousands of years.
Joint Scientific Study Reveals that Bacteria Inherent to Plastic Materials Thrive in Oceans
In a joint study conducted by researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan and University of Plymouth in UK it was discovered that the combination of the worsening plastic pollution and the ongoing decrease of pH level in oceans negatively influences the organisms inhabiting marine habitats. In examining the submerged plastic bottles fished out of the oceans, the researchers made an astounding discovery.
Inside the plastic bottle, they detected twice the amount of the diverse plethora of bacteria, when compared to those found in surrounding areas of water. Further analysis revealed that among the variety of bacteria living in the bottle, nearly 350 of them exist only in plastics.
Experts say that the findings provide more evidence that the increasing plastic wastes found in the ocean. They also provide a new habitat that will allow plastic-based bacteria to survive and thrive in bodies of water. That being the case, the study’s findings highlight the need to give significant attention to local ecological processes and environmental conditions as they could have future adverse impact on marine ecosystems.
According to Dr. Ben Harvey, the lead author of the research, the colonies of bacteria also increased the levels of carbon in the ocean. It is worrisome as they could cause helpful organisms to decrease, and the harmful organisms to prosper.