Even in the depths of the sea, starfish can’t escape plastic
By Kirk Weinert, senior writer and advisor
Another ocean creature has been found eating a steady diet of plastic: starfish.
In October 2018, researchers discovered microscopic traces of eight different plastics in the stomachs of starfish, sea stars and brittle stars collected between 1976 and 2015 near Scotland. This means these creatures have been ingesting plastics for at least 40 years.
“This data shows, for the first time, the long-term prevalence of microplastic pollution in the deep sea,” stated the study’s lead author, Winnie Courtene-Jones, a doctoral student at the University of the Highlands and Islands and Scottish Association for Marine Science.
For a starfish or a bird or a turtle, it’s easy to accidentally ingest a small piece of plastic—especially when there are millions of pieces of plastic floating in the ocean, our rivers and lakes.
To protect ocean wildlife, Environmental Action is working to end our reliance on single-use plastics, starting with plastic polystyrene foam and plastic straws.