Blue whales swallow more than 40 kilograms of microplastics every day

The pollution of the seas is becoming an ever greater problem for the largest creatures there: blue whales ingest up to ten million pieces of microplastic every day. According to a study, the marine mammals “eat” up to 43.6 kilograms of microplastics per day.

The data were published in a study Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. According to the researchers, this suggests that the pervasive pollution poses a greater threat to the world’s largest animal than previously thought.

A US research team missed motion transmitters for the study of 191 blue, fin and humpback whales off the California coast. During the evaluation, the scientists found out that the whales do not absorb large amounts of microplastic on their way through the ocean, as is often assumed, but that 99 percent of it was in their food, the krill. “This is of concern to us,” said study lead author Shirel Kahane-Rapport. Because krill is considered the “basis of the food chain” – also for fish that are eaten by humans.

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