IMPACT
05/15/2017 05:00 am ET Updated May 16, 2017

You're Probably Eating Plastic For Dinner, You Just Don't Know It Yet

There's so much plastic in the ocean that it's even in our seafood.
Milkos via Getty Images

This story is part of a series on ocean plastics.

The oceans are teeming with plastic trash: shopping bags, water bottles, old toothbrushes, and much more. By 2020, there will be more plastic than fish in marine waters.

Over time, this debris begins to break into near-microscopic particles. There may be 51 trillion tiny plastic pieces scattered across the world’s oceans ― 500 times more than there are stars in the galaxy. Fish, unable to discern what’s plastic and what’s food, are eating this stuff. And humans, ever ravenous, eat fish ― lots of them.

One in four fish has plastic in its gut, according a recent study. Plastic particles have also been found in oysters and mussels. If you eat a lot of shellfish, for example, you might be consuming 11,000 pieces of plastic a year. The health effects of this are unknown.

To see how this cycle plays out, take a look through the storybook below:

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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Ocean Plastics And The Animals They Hurt
CONVERSATIONS