HK researchers identify adverse effects of microplastics to marine animals

Updated 2018-03-06 10:13:07 Xinhua

High concentration of microplastics has irremediable negative impacts on marine invertebrates such as slipper limpets, according to a study by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology released Monday.

Microplastics are tiny plastic beads less than 5 mm in diameter, which can be found in many health, beauty and household products.

A research team led by Karen Chan, assistant professor of the university's division of life science, studied the impacts of microplastics on slipper limpets, an invasive species, and bristle worms, a common fish bait.

The findings show that when slipper limpets were exposed to high concentration of microplastics during their larval stage, the growth of this pollution-tolerant species significantly slowed down, and they would not resume their original growth rates even after the removal of microbeads from their surroundings.

As for bristle worms, the team found that the regeneration rate of the species' tail is much reduced under exposure to a high concentration of microbeads, and such regenerative ability is crucial for their survival. Smaller beads were also found to be more detrimental than larger ones.

In Hong Kong, up to 9.4 billion microbeads are being released to coastal waters every day. Worldwide, an estimated 15 to 51 trillion microplastic particles had accumulated in the ocean as of 2016, according to the university.

"To help save our ocean, we should start with ourselves today. Avoid products with microplastics, think twice before consuming single-use plastics such as straws, bottled drinks as they do degrade into small pieces," Chan said.

The team's findings were recently published in the scientific journals Environmental Pollution and Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Also in the News

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time
Showbiz2016/06/16 13:58November 20 2018 19:15:25

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time

Attending Shanghai International Film Festival, Nicole Kidman talks about her role in "Grace of Monaco".

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts
Also in the News2014/05/01 12:16November 20 2018 19:15:25

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'
Also in the News2014/04/18 13:18November 20 2018 19:15:25

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'

Hollywood star Johnny Depp's speech in the upcoming new film "Transcendence" has been disclosed on Friday, April 11th.

News:
China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
Video:
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
Photos:
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Travel:
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Lifestyle:
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords