Geologists have revealed the ‘terrifying’ discovery of reefs formed by plastic pollution on the Brazilian island of Trinidad.
Scientists researching this remote island, famous for its turtle sanctuary, found the rocks attached here. Plastic observed, which they say is alarming about the increasing impact of plastic pollution on Earth’s geological cycles.
The island is located 1,140 km from the southeastern state of Espirito Santo in Brazil and is a protected area for green sea turtles that come here to lay their eggs.
Fernanda Aviler Santos, a geologist at the Federal University of Paraná, said: ‘This is a new and frightening revelation at the same time because pollution has started to affect the geology.’
“Pollution, marine litter and improperly dumped plastics in the oceans are becoming geological material,” Santos added. It is now preserved in the Earth’s geological record.’
The geological structure of Brazil’s Trindade Island, consisting of volcanic mountains, has fascinated scientists for years. The island was largely uninhabited and untouched by human influence, but increasing amounts of plastic pollution have taken hold here too.
“We have observed that it (plastic pollution) comes mainly from fishing nets, which have become very common debris on the beaches of Trinidad Island,” Santos added.
According to him: ‘The nets are dragged along with the waves and deposited on the shore. When temperatures rise, this plastic melts and becomes embedded with natural beach materials (such as rocks).’
Trinidad Island is one of the world’s most important green turtle sanctuaries where thousands of turtles come to lay their eggs every year.
This section contains related reference points (Related Nodes field).
Trinidad is inhabited only by a few members of the Brazilian Navy, who manage a base on the island. These officials also protect the egg-laying turtles.
Santos said the ‘terrifying’ discovery raises questions about humans’ legacy on the planet.
He said: ‘We talk a lot about the Anthropocene and that’s it. He was referring to a geological epoch that is about the impact of humans on our planet’s geology and ecosystems.
He further said that ‘Pollution, marine litter and improperly dumped plastics in the oceans are becoming geological material. And it is now preserved in the Earth’s geological record.’
According to a new analysis by the non-governmental organization ‘5 Gears Institute’, there are more than 1700 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans.
About 8 million pieces of plastic enter the oceans every day.
The amount of plastic debris entering the oceans each year is expected to nearly triple by 2040, and there could be more pieces of plastic in the ocean than fish.
Meanwhile, a 2022 OECD report notes that worldwide plastic production has doubled in the past 20 years, with only nine percent being successfully recycled.
forming ocean Plastic reefs research
Last modified: March 18, 2023