In Pennsylvania, troubling news about smallmouth bass, plastics in Susquehanna River
Now that the results of a 2019 study are known — research that looked into the contents of the stomachs of 89 smallmouth bass sampled from the Susquehanna River’s mainstem as it flows through Pennsylvania — it may finally be time for people here to come to the realization that we humans are rapidly inflicting harm beyond repair to our only home, the Earth.
In the stomachs of those dissected smallmouths, an average of 29 pieces of micro plastics were discovered to be part of the digested contents of the foods the fish were consuming as part of their daily diet.
Plastics flow freely through this huge freshwater system. The material offers no nutritional benefit, add the feeling of a fuller stomach which in turn decreases the needed intake of natural food sources and lessened growth rate, and most likely harms the fish in yet undiscovered ways such as fry production and survival rate,
Studies of ocean life have already indicated plastics are found in tiny zooplankton all the way up to whales, and are present from Antarctica all the way to the Arctic, and everywhere else in between.
Plastics have also been determined to be a part of human makeup, found in organs like our kidneys, lungs and livers.
As plastics decompose — a process that may take hundreds and even thousands of years — it finds its way into every corner of the Earth’s living systems. Through avenues such as sewage treatment facilities that empty into streams and rivers, through the air and often returning to earth by rain, and stormwater runoff that dredges plastic wastes from land that eventually end up in rivers like the Susqhehanna.
It is hard to believe but the evidence on micro-plastics in our aquatic ecosystems is indisputable. The real shame is that as human kind raved about the creation of plastic and its many uses, it now becomes a part of every food chain, including ours.
It still amazes me that people of Earth are able to turn a blind eye to the harm we continue to bring to our planet, even though we know we are slowly destroying the only place where we can survive.