Greenpeace/The 5 Gyres Institute

World - Plastics and toxic chemicals are killing fish — and poisoning us

Plastic, pesticides and other toxic substances are devastating the world’s fish and marine animals, according to a report released Tuesday.

The study, which was not peer-reviewed, was published by the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), a global coalition of environmental organizations. It reviewed academic research conducted worldwide on the impacts of plastic and toxic chemicals, and is the first systematic review of these dispersed studies designed to paint a global picture of the problem.

The findings were dire: Pollution is compromising the world’s oceans, fisheries and coastal communities while exacerbating the impacts of climate change and overfishing.

“Many people think that fish declines are just the result of overfishing,” said Matt Landos, a researcher, aquatic veterinarian and co-author on the report.

“In fact, the entire aquatic food web has been seriously compromised with fewer fish at the top, losses of invertebrates in the sediments and water column, less healthy marine algae, coral and other habitats, (and) a proliferation of bacteria and toxic algae blooms. Chemical pollution (and) climate change … are the chief reason for these losses.”

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