While using plastic, no one ever imagines its effect on the next generation. Forget about the next generation; currently, the entire marine life is suffering from plastic pollution in the ocean ecosystem. Whales are carrying hundreds of kg of plastic in their belly, while Turtles could not breathe, as straws made up of plastic stuck in their nostrils. Several near-extinct bird species killed themselves after eating plastics, mistaking for food. In a recent development, scientists find another species severely affected by these non-recyclable plastics, hermit crabs.
The study revealed that around five lakhs hermit crabs killed, owing to plastic pollution. A study from the Journal of Hazardous Materials revealed that the plastic debris killed around 5,70,000 hermit crabs near the shore. Hermit crabs confused the plastic with the empty cells resulting in their deaths. The recent study marks the first instance for a study, where the author quantifies the impact of plastic pollution.
Researchers examined the hermit crabs in Cocos island, situated in the Indian Ocean and Henderson Island in the Southern portion of the Pacific Ocean. One can find extensive plastic pollution on the shores of both the islands. Researchers estimated the plastic number as high as 451 million. The majority among them were under the sands.
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When plastic pieces reach the shore, it becomes an attraction for the hermit crabs. Most of the time, these hermit crabs searching for food and water. While searching their food, once the crab entered the plastic, it is nearly impossible for them to get out of this. As Hermit Crabs are not born with shells, they consistently looking for one. When a crab dies inside a plastic container, its sell deposit there and emits a special smell. These smells attract many more hermit crabs, and that eventually leads them to death. The process works like a chain reaction, and many more crabs die in one plastic which causes plastic pollution.