Isn’t the world magnificent? There are truly so many beautiful and amazing things to see and learn all across our globe.
We have all heard of coral reefs, right? But do we reaaaallly know what it is? Here’s some background info. Corals are actually animals-like soft little bitty polyps-and NOT plants. Whaaaaat?! They have an exoskeleton that helps them adhere to rocks or other (dead) coral, and tentacle-like arms to catch/eat their food.
The coral reefs are vitally important for our ecosystem. Why? Coral reefs house at least 25% of species on Earth!!! That’s a whole heckin’ lot of species when you think about it. Unfortunately, our wasteful ways are flooding our oceans and water supplies with plastics that are harming pretty much any water life. Our one-time use plastics are often found floating in the oceans, and landing on our reefs.
Let’s think about our plants on land. They often have branches and leaves sticking out from the trunk, so it’s safe to assume coral is much the same. They are rough and have edges, so it is super easy for plastic stuff to hang on to the coral. Make sense? Coral thrives in clear water that sun can shine through. Coral does NOT thrive when it is covered in a grocery bag that is obliterating any sunlight. Duke University did a study and found that coral enjoys eating plastic. Lol, wut?! Yes, it was fed plastic verses sand X many times, and it ate 80% of the plastic it was fed and only ate sand 1 of 10 times!! Though they like to eat the yummy ziploc baggie or water bottle particles, their tiny tummies do NOT like it. They can’t really digest it so they either expelled it one way or another, or it got stuck inside of them.
Basically, plastic waste is killing our coral reefs by blocking it from the sun and from other nutritious plankton it needs, OR by the coral ingesting it and dying from it blocking up its insides.
I urge you to google plastic on coral reefs and find so many gross pictures. Due to copyright reasons, I couldn’t share some of the more jaw-dropping photos there are of plastic literally covering coral reefs. We have GOT to do better, yáll!!!
I do NOT own any images on this blog post. All right reserved for respected owner.