The Effects of Plastics on Marine Wildlife

QEL Code 954
CPD 10
Estimated Study Time 10 Hours
Start Date Anytime
Study mode Online
Award type Certificate
Assessment Method Short answer questions to confirm your knowledge
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Course fees £97

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Unit # 1

Effects of micro and macro plastics on the Earth's Oceans

This course investigates the devastating effects that micro and macro plastics are having on the Earth’s Oceans. The content of the course focusses on the different types of marine animals that may be faced with the negative effects of plastics, as well as they types of plastics released into the Oceans, and how we can all do our best to avoid the sometimes invisible pollutant.

The Effects of Plastics on Marine Wildlife

Plastics are malleable solids made of high molecular weight organic polymers. The monomers that make plastic, such as ethylene and propylene, are derived from fossil hydrocarbons.

Ethylene is a hydrocarbon which is mainly produced and used in the process of polymerization. The result of this process is polyethene. Polyethene is the world’s most widely used plastic.

Learn about the impact of plastics on marine animals and what we can do to minimise the threat of plastic pollution on marine environments.

The Effects of Plastics on Marine Wildlife

The overwhelming global expansion of this indispensable material can be seen in the dramatic rise of produced plastics, from the less than 2 million tonnes produced in the ‘50s to the 300 million tonnes made annually today.

The amount projected by 2050, on current trends, is about 40 billion tons, which is enough to wrap six layers of clingfilm around the planet.
Notwithstanding, petrochemicals are not the only source of polyethene. Bio-sources of this material has been put forward. Polyethene can also be made from sugarcane, wheat grain and sugar beet.

We live in an apocalyptic world of plastic, consumerism, and disposable. A more sustainable way of life it’s not only beneficial for the planet but also our health.

Nowadays, we are persuaded to buy products that we do not need or last only for a few seconds, and often we are brainwashed by misleading marketing campaigns that hide the entire manufacturing process.

That’s why we, as consumers, need to be more critical and re-think and think again about our choices and actions.


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The Effects of Plastics on Marine Wildlife

The zero/low-waste movement supports a more sustainable and conscious lifestyle, and its focus on the drastic reduction of waste that we produce.
The foundations of this movement lay on a set of “rules” developed to help and guide the entire process, having as an ending result the reduction of our ecological footprint.

Bea Johnson, the author of the book Zero Waste Home, has inspired a global movement. Bea and her family have debunked common misconceptions that waste-free living is depriving, time-consuming and costly, and her book has become a bible of waste-free living.

“Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot (and only in that order) is my family’s secret to reducing our annual trash to a jar since 2008” Bea Johnson
Absorption and ingestion of microplastics by organisms from the primary trophic level (i.e. zooplankton) could be a pathway into the food chain.
The trophic transfer has been previously shown in lower food chain species. Still, a study published in 2018 by Dr Sarah Nelms from the University of Exeter, demystified and provided solid proof that trophic transfer of microplastics (through the consumption of plastic-contaminated prey) and subsequently toxins can happen between prey items and top predators.

Trophic transfer of plastics leads to bioaccumulation of plastic through the food web. Abundant microplastics particles have been observed in gastrointestinal tracts of cetaceans. And, correlative evidence from fish, seabirds, and mussels support the potential of plastics to cause bioaccumulation of environmental pollutants.


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