A dangerous new type of pollution began to form a crust on coastal rocks

When geologists study cores in the distant future, they will see the beginning of a distinct polymer layer at the 21st century mark. Probably, this trace will remain all over the Earth, but it will differ in composition. For example, in the region of present-day Madeira, they will take the form of "plastic rust", a plastic crust on coastal stones - a new dangerous type of environmental pollution.

For the first time plasticists were noticed in 2016 by scientists from the Center for Marine and Environmental Sciences of Portugal. Observations over the past time have proven that this is not an accident, but a very stable formation. Probably, initially the waves simply smashed the plastic debris on the rocks, but then it transformed into a "crust" in a not very clear way. It looks like hardened toothpaste or gum and coats the rocks on the shore like seaweed.

It is estimated that more than 10% of the entire surface of the rocks on the Madeira coast is already stained with plastic grass. Its composition is polyethylene, but already strongly compressed, very firmly attached to the stones, so it remains even after storms. Plasticrate penetrated the cracks and, in some cases, even chipped off parts of the stones. Yes, it does not spread like living organisms, but it does not disappear either - scientists believe that nature cannot process this kind of pollution.

To make matters worse, the plastic compound has already entered the diet of marine life, for example, sea snails of the species Littorina littorea confidently absorb plastic particles along with algae. Not because it is tasty and nutritious, but because it is within reach. It is unlikely that this will contribute to their health, but observations of snails have just begun. In general, Portuguese scientists sadly state that the problem of the planet's pollution with plastic is taking on new forms.