Waterford Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan says it’s no surprise that plastic substances are showing up in the digestive systems of dead marine life.
Autopsies carried out on the bodies of over 500 whales, dolphins and porpoises found that in all cases, the animal had comsumed a microplastic, with larger synthetics found in 10 per cent of those examined.
The study by UCC, Galway-Mayo IT and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group found that rare species as well as smaller fish in the human food chain are also ingesting plastic waste.
Grace O’Sullivan says that marine animals are mistaking these substances for food, “some of these mammals have asphyxiated, they’ve literally died because of the ingestion of a plastic bag.”
The Green Senator brought legislation before the Seanad last year to try and bring about an end to microbeads in cosmetic products.
“We’re finding it all over the marine system and it is having an effect,” she says, adding that there needs to be a widespread change of attitude towards the use of consumer plastics.