Home Animals Steypireyður eats up to 10 million plastic chips a day Steypireyður eats up to 10 million plastic chips a dayA comparison of data on pollution in the oceans and the eating habits of ski whales shows that the whales ingest incredible amounts of microplastics. Animals 27/06/2023 by Space Navy 0 Comment A comparison of data on pollution in the oceans and the eating habits of ski whales shows that the whales ingest incredible amounts of microplastics. It is not just legal and illegal whaling that threatens the giants of the sea. Namely, a new study shows that the killer whale poses a great threat from microplastics in the world’s oceans. Like other right whales, the sperm whale obtains its food by filtering it from a mouthful of seawater. What remains, when the sea has been filtered out, is usually small fish, light eaters and algae – but also microplastics. Microplastics are defined as plastic particles less than 5 mm in length. In recent years, dissection of carcasses has sometimes revealed up to 40 kilograms of plastic in a whale’s stomach. Researchers at Stanford University in the United States have now used a comparison of the feeding habits of nearly 200 killer whales, fin whales and humpback whales and the concentration of microplastics in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the United States to find out which whales are most threatened by this pollutant. The whale species have in common that they prefer to look for food at a depth of 50-250 meters, as this is where most of the food is eaten, for example. However, the research showed that precisely at this depth there is also the most microplastic. It was also found that the blue whale, which eats an incredible amount of light food, probably ingests up to 10 million microplastic chips per day, while humpback whales probably ingest about 3 million. In context, the scientists assume that 98-99% of the plastic comes from the 10-20 tons of food that the whales swallow per day. “This is the highest daily amount of microplastics ever estimated in any animal,” says Matthew Savoca of Stanford University in California. He says the next step in the research is to find out what effect this high consumption of plastic has on the whales’ bodies in the long term. Microplastics actually have less of an effect on marine animals. The microplastic particles can be so fine that they penetrate the intestinal walls and human body tissues. “Microplastics have even been found in the placenta, breast milk and blood,” says Matthew Savoca, and he also emphasizes that it is still completely unclear how microplastics will affect these giant mammals in the future.