Australia’s government science agency called CSIRO has been busy studying the depths of our oceans 300km off the country’s southern coast in the Great Australian Bight.
Studying these depths should be exciting and fun, however, these scientists were interested in something far less fun, and far more dangerous: Microplastics. They scanned and looked at 51 samples of the ocean floor over six remote sites to weigh them. They sadly discovered that each gram of sediment, water excluded, contained an average of 1.26 microplastic pieces.
By definition, a microplastic is 5mm or less in diameter. They are often invisible to the naked eye and are created either as bigger bits of plastic break down over time or already small by industries such as in face scrubs, toothpaste and detergents. Even doing the laundry contributes since synthetic fibers go straight down the drain!
The mathematics is damning: at least 14 million tonnes of these microplastics are now at the bottom of the oceans. It is there that they are laid to rest, out of sight and out of mind to us humans. They believe there is now thirty times more plastic on the ocean floor than there is on the surface of Earth. What’s also bad is that there are more microplastics trapped on land than on sea too.
Basically, this research proves that now plastics are literally everywhere. The depths of our oceans, peaks of our mountains and also amongst the food on our plates. Being found in our oceans is crucial because it also means microplastics are now in our water table too. This means that we now drink them unknowingly.
Consumer items are always going to be the main problem. 2019 saw many huge companies ditch single-use plastic, which is a good step forward. At the Malta National Aquarium, we too ditched single-use plastic, and also encourage you to bring in your bottle caps for a second life. While our efforts are valiant, we need every single company to pull on the same rope and ask everyone to cooperate?
Studies suggest there are 250,000 tonnes of plastic floating on the ocean surface too. These will disintegrate into microplastics, carpeting the ocean floor in an unwanted and totally man-made pest. More plastic is also trapped on land, so while the 14 million tonnes figure above is monumental, the plastics trapped on land, or floating on the sea point to a graver, bigger picture.
Win of the month: Using ducks instead of pesticides!
In Thailand, some farmers are using ducks instead of pesticides. What a wonderful idea! After each rice harvest, thousands of ducks are set free to roam the land, trample the ground and eat the snails that feed off the grass shoots. It is totally sustainable, cheaper and way better for the environment and you!
This traditional farming method is friendly to our planet and their droppings are also used to fertilize the soil indirectly, saving the farmer money on fertilizer and also reducing transport costs too. Plowing tools and machinery are also redundant as the ducks trample the ground flat.
Let’s remember, pesticides put a huge strain on our water tables, harm soil and can damage human health!
Go Mighty Ducks!
Deep-sea discoveries for Halloween
We’ve got a special trick up our sleeve for Halloween this season and are excited to invite you to our Halloween Hunt. We’ve placed QR codes around our premises, and you’ve got to find them, scan them and discover their spooky names! Deep-sea creatures can be extremely weird to look at, due to their different forms and shapes, so enjoy learning about the deepest parts of our oceans!
Free Entrance for kids in costume
Any child entering on Halloween weekend in costume will enter for FREE, and there’s more…
We have a competition for the BEST COSTUME, so be prepared to give us a fright because the winner will also win a free membership for the Aquarium!