A new study warned that the already endangered coral reefs are being threatened with diseases caused by plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. The coral reefs across the Asia-Pacific region are being put at risk currently by more than 11 billion plastic items that drift freely in the oceans. The habitat of millions of fish species can be destroyed if the corals catch the disease, according to the research.
The study was conducted in Australia by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. In addition to that, it estimates that within seven years, this level will increase by 40 percent.
‘That equates to an estimated 15.7 billion plastic items on coral reefs across the Asia-Pacific by 2025,’ said Joleah Lamb, who led the study. Scientists are still not sure why the coral reefs can be so affected by plastics, but they saw that plastic pollution stresses these organisms because it releases toxins, depriving corals of light and oxygen.
Coral Reefs Are Now In Danger Of Getting Diseases Caused By Plastic Pollution In The World’s Oceans
The living organisms we know as coral reefs cover about 0.2 percent of the ocean floor. In addition to that, they account for nearly a quarter of all biodiversity found in oceans.
Coastal management and fisheries find these coral reefs vital, which aside from being at risk because of the plastics, the global warming does not do them good either because it boosts diseases and can cause coral to bleach and die.
Ms. Lamb and her team examined more than 120,000 corals on 159 coral reefs. Some of them were polluted with plastic while others were not. The sources were Thailand, Australia, Myanmar, and Indonesia.
After studying these corals, they concluded that the chance of disease increased from four to 89 percent after coral reefs came into contact with plastic pollution.