23 September 2015 14:08:53 IST

When alarm bells toll

A turtle trapped in an abandoned fishing net

Japan’s researchers have found alarming levels of toxic debris washing ashore

That trash and pollution has transcended every place conceivable — land, air or water — is no surprise. And it is taking a serious toll on the environment, including the ocean.

According to an article on Nikkei Asian Review, even those places that are considered “natural paradise”, are being filled with filth such as fishing nets, bottles, cans and other forms of trash. But one main area of concern are microplastics, which is what happens when plastic is broken down by the ultraviolet rays.

The article states that when Japan’s Environment Ministry had conducted a study of ‘marine trash’ that drifted ashore in seven areas for five years, they accumulated some 48.1 tonne of junk. And plastic accounted for 47.3 per cent of it.

The plastics floating on the oceans have been found to contain high levels of a toxic substance, polychlorinated biphenyl.

In order to understand the scale of the problem, the article says, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology's training vessel, the Umitaka Maru will “traverse the Antarctic Ocean twice over a three-year period, collecting trash in nets typically used to gather plankton”.

To read the entire article, click here .