Yes, microplastics are harmful to marine species. Microplastics are plastic particles less than 5 mm in size and are commonly found in the seas. These small particles spread into the surrounding water, seabed and marine organisms.
Microplastics can pose various harms to marine organisms. Firstly, these particles can be difficult for organisms to digest and can damage their digestive system. Some microplastics may contain toxic chemicals or release toxic compounds into the surrounding water. This can harm marine species and increase their risk of death.
Furthermore, microplastics move through the food chain of marine species. Small organisms feed on microplastic particles and these particles can be transferred to large fish or other marine organisms. As a result, toxic substances contained in microplastics may accumulate within marine species.
Exposure of marine organisms to microplastics can have a negative impact on important biological processes such as reproduction and growth. It is also thought that microplastics may have a widespread impact in marine ecosystems. For example, the sticking of plankton to microplastics can reduce their ability to photosynthesise and have negative effects on ecosystem.
It is therefore important to tackle microplastic pollution and reduce the entry of microplastics into the seas. This requires taking actions such as reducing the use of plastics, recycling and proper waste management. At the same time, awareness raising, research and policy reforms also play an important role in solving this problem.