The plastics found in cosmetics may immensely harm oysters. In fact, these micro-polymers may even kill off many of these aphrodisiac oysters.
Oysters are known for their aphrodisiac effects. They are a culinary delicacy and considered a staple of fine dining establishments. Now mankind is making the lives of these little shellfish a hell on earth via his polluting ways.
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Micro-plastics which are found in cosmetic products are adversely affecting the reproductive lives of oysters. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
It is not that micro-plastics are harmful that is the sad news. This was already known. Even more depressing is what these toxic materials do to future generations of marine animals.
The oysters incur damage to their reproductive systems very quickly once they have ingested these pollutants. Pacific oysters were examined while they were in a tank.
Their eggs were smaller in size and the sperm had a low motility. Those oysters which escaped these debilitating effects did not display such adverse reactions.
After two months during which the oysters consumed the micro-plastic laced environment, they developed nearly half the baby oysters they would normally generate. And the development of these young oysters was slow also.
The plastic may be interfering with the hormones of these oysters and even blocking their digestive tracts. They thus do not get the necessary nourishment and hence lack the energy to complete their life cycles.
Micro-plastics are normally found in toothpastes and face wash. Most of them go down the sink in their original form thus contributing to the pre-existing pollution. An anti-micro-plastics campaign has already begun.
Since these tiny beads of toxic plastic are the same size as the phytoplankton that oysters feed on, they inadvertently consume them along with their normal diet. Other marine life is also threatened like these oysters by the micro-plastics.
Oysters are nature’s marine scavengers and fixating agents. They clean up the water, remove the nitrogen which has collected in it and speed up the de-nitrification process.
The environment they provide for several species of fish and crustaceans shows that they play an important role in the planet’s bodies of water.
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We ought to conserve them for the benefit of our future generations. And while the US government is doing what it can to eliminate the use of micro-beads of plastic in cosmetics, it may be a case of too little, too late.