Effects of Plastic on Biodiversity

Effects of Plastic on Biodiversity

Unsustainable ways of disposing plastic have seemed to cause immeasurable danger to our biodiversity. Taking an incredibly long time to degrade, plastic eventually ends up in landfills and water bodies, thus becoming a major reason for endangerment and extinction of various species of flora and fauna.


Chlorinated plastic can release harmful chemicals into the soil, which leads to its contamination and further, affects its biophysical properties. This means that the microplastics may enter into the part of the plant that is intended for human or livestock consumption, thus entering the food chain.


  • Marine

Marine debris is perceived to be one of the major threats to biodiversity. As plastic never truly decomposes, it simply breaks into smaller bits that remain in oceans, as a sort of microscopic plastic soup, due to their property of buoyancy. Put simply, plastic pollution is turning our oceans into a toxic ‘plastic soup’, which has had a prominent effect on marine wildlife.

The following stats indicate towards the same:

-More than 50% of sea turtles eat plastic; 50-80% of sea turtles that are found dead have traces of plastic inside their bodies.

-54% of all whales, dolphins, and seals are impacted by plastic.

-At least a million fish are killed by ingesting plastic or by being entangled in it.

*A newly developed concept is that of a ‘plastisphere’ which is an ecosystem comprising of microbial community on plastic debris.

Image by M. Maggs from Pixabay
  • Terrestrial

Plastic waste, that is not washed out or dumped in water bodies, still ends up being very dangerous to wild and domesticated animals. The impacts felt by these animals closely mirror their marine brethren. They suffer from various forms of entanglements as well as accidental consumption, which may pose to be deadly. The chemicals found in plastic can be detrimental to the overall health of the animal that ingests it, and it may cause intestinal blockages in the animal that consumes it. Plastic can also cause terrible wounds to an animal, even resulting in internal lacerations.

In case of birds, plastic waste can take away their most prized possession: their wings to fly.


3 thoughts on “Effects of Plastic on Biodiversity

  1. Very informative related with nondegradation of plastic causing damages to environment.
    Alternative for plastic disposal is also to be looked upon.

  2. I learned a lot more about plastic, and I love all the information you gave me.

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