Microplastics making their way up to belugas in Arctic through prey, says new study

Times Colonist

Hundreds of thousands of tiny bits of plastic waste have been found in the prey of belugas, proving that the pollution in the whales is making its way even to the most remote Arctic waters, a new study says.

In the study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, researchers looked at five species of Arctic fish that are regular prey of belugas and found 21 per cent of them had microplastic particles in their gastrointestinal tracts.

The lead author of the study, Rhiannon Moore, said this finding confirmed that microplastics are moving up the food chain.

“It’s a worry because plastic, as we know, is everywhere, and we don’t really know the long-term effect of all the different types of plastic that are ending up in these species,” she said in an interview.

Moore, who recently completed a master of science degree at Simon Fraser University and is a zero-waste outreach co-ordinator with the City of Victoria, said many northern animals are encountering environmental change.

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