Whales, being filter-feeders, are consuming huge quantities of microplastics a day, making them the largest consumers of plastic waste on Earth. The weight of plastics consumed in a day is estimated to be between 230 kg and 4 tonnes.
The study was conducted in the coastal waters of California but researchers warn that other parts of the world could be even more polluted with whales consuming even higher quantities.
Whales most often ingest plastics through the small organisms that they feed on, which, in turn, have fed on the waste materials. Whales could be harmed by the microplastics and the toxic chemicals they carry, and previous work has found plastic-derived contaminants have been identified in their blubber.
The mammals are still recovering from the whaling trade and face other human-caused impacts such as noise and ship strikes.
Source: The Guardian