The California Ocean Science Trust released a news report suggesting the state’s ocean habitats are facing an entirely new threat, microplastics, that officials should be aware of to create preventive measures.

Across the region, plastic has become a common material found in many marine environments. Many animals suffer when they get ensnared or tangled, hindering their daily lives, frequently causing death. Plastic also forms “plasticrusts” on shores and is often consumed by shellfish and corals when it disintegrates.

Microplastic Pollution

Microplastics are smaller forms of plastic that are made up of fragments smaller than 5 mm in size. They are commonly found in ocean habitats, inside marine animals, and sometimes inside human organs.

“Microplastics are persistent in environments and can accumulate in marine organisms, which can be harmful to the ingesting organisms and cause human exposure. It is urgent to collect specific data regarding microplastic pollution in the California coastal environments,” Environmental Health Scientist Eunha Ho said.

The report is carefully assessing risks and trying to determine the next steps to prevent potential negative impacts due to the lack of critical information regarding microplastics. The personnel involved with the report have also presented three key suggestions that could help the situation.

First, officials should reassess the state of microplastics in California within the next five years. Second, the dominant sources of plastic pollution (including larger materials that do not fully degrade in ocean waters) should be determined. Lastly, authorities should work on blocking off the dominant paths of microplastic pollution to prevent additional damage to the environment.

“Microplastics have been found in all corners of the world. The best approach to protecting ocean health is to curb pollution at its source,” a major contributor to the report, Dr. Susanne Brander, said, Forbes reported.