The Guardian

Slowly, yet gradually plastic crept into our lives and now has become a constant. So much so, it has targeted the Arctic ocean, like the current waterbodies weren’t enough.

Making the fears of pollution rise, worsen, the blocks of polystyrene, is an evidence enough that plastic has made its way to the arctic. Consequently, resulting in snow melts and climatic change.

The discovery was made by a group of researchers led by marine biologist Tim Gordon from Exeter University. They found the blocks hundreds of meters away from the land which was until now covered in layers of snow.

Furthermore, they were able to go to Central Arctic Ocean, a task never achieved in the history. This was probably due to the recent reduction in the summer ice cover, which is thought to be a result of climate change.

Rates of ice melts have increased drastically, over the past couple of years, due to climatic change, making 40% of the Central Arctic Ocean in summers maneuverable.

Marine biologist Tim Gordon of Exeter University said: “Finding pieces of rubbish like this is a worrying sign that melting ice may be allowing elevated levels of pollution to drift into these areas. This is potentially very dangerous for the Arctic’s wildlife.”

“The Arctic Ocean’s wildlife used to be protected by a layer of sea ice all year round. Now that is melting away, this environment will be exposed to commercial fishing, shipping and industry for the first time in history.”

“We need to seriously consider how best to protect the Arctic’s animals from these new threats. By doing so, we will give them a fighting chance of adapting and responding to their rapidly-changing habitat.” (The Telegraph).

These large plastics eventually degrade to microplastics which are consumed by wildlife, hence entering the food chain. The team of researchers also used fine sieves to filter out the microplastic from the river channels. They would now be used as samples in laboratory to study the level of pollution in the Arctic and the possible effects on the wildlife.

Shocking estimates suggest, over 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the oceans, which is enough to form a permanent layer in the fossil record. The scientific adviser to the research group already warned that, people produce 300 million tons of plastic every year, the same weight as the total human population. Dr. Ceri Lewis further declared that roughly half of the plastic produced is used only once before being discarded!

There are predictions that the entire Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in summer by 2050. Consequently, leading people to exploit the available land, inturn harming and endangering the wildlife of the Arctic.

The Arctic mission team made sure to observe the underwater sounds and how the wildlife is affected. Using underwater microphones and loudspeaker to understand how sound travels through the polar seas and how it would be affected due to ice-melts.

Furthermore, emphasis was laid on how the melting of ice layer of the ocean is bound to affect the marine life.With the layer of ice melting away, the animals would be exposed to commercial fishing, shipping and industry for the first time in the history.

Hence suitable adaptations and methods are to be carried out to protect the beings from the change.

Ending on a note with a humble request to reduce plastic use in the daily use, so we could hope and nurture a future for the generations to come and not labelled as the Slayers of Nature!

 – Op-ed