September 13, 2019
Earthworms are getting smaller because they’re digesting microplastics from the soil and struggling to grow, according to research.
The list of ways plastic pollution is damaging our health and natural environment is seemingly endless, and a new study study has added another facet to the issue.
And sickly worms could have knock-on effects on the ecosystem in general because they play a crucial role in maintaining soil and other animals.
The damage could even extend to humans, experts say, having a ‘serious impact’ on mankind by changing our environment.
Chemicals in plastic from carrier bags, microbeads in cosmetics and synthetic fibres from clothing can irritate the creatures’ digestive systems.
They may cause damage to their gut and make it more difficult to absorb nutrients or eat properly, which can stunt their growth or make them lose weight.
Or plastics can physically clog up their bodies to make it harder for them to eat at all, researchers from Anglia Ruskin University said.
In lab experiments, rosy-tipped earthworms (Aporrectodea rosea) which were exposed to polyethylene lost an average of 3.1 per cent of their body weight in just 30 days.
This article was posted: Friday, September 13, 2019 at 4:35 am