Sea grasses appear to have another use: they sieve microplastics from the sea

Sea grasses once carpeted much of the worlds oceans at depths that suit them. In many places such as the UK destructive fishing practices have been allowed, such as bottom sea dragging. This has also severely damaged the UK cold water coral reefs, but that is a story for another day.

Neptune balls have the capability of sieving plastics from the sea

This latest information, may well give us a reason to replant them (aside from the benefits to biodiversity and the huge amount of carbon they take up).

Plastic particles are becoming an increasing problem. Many of our clothes are now made from manmade fibres. and these fibres contain plastics. When we wash them, hundreds of microscopic fibres are released, and find their way into the drains. Unfortunately water treatment is not designed to catch these tiny fibres and so virtually all make their way into the sea.

There are some wonderful projects going on, particularly the great ocean cleanup lead by Boyan Slat, however these are aimed at removing larger pieces of plastic before they break down.

If all we need to do is to replant seagrass this is simpler than sieving the entire ocean for these unnatural threads.

The seagrass appears to trap plastic pollution in bundles of fibre known as Neptune balls. It is thought that these balls can catch more than 900 million pieces of plastic a year (and that is just in the Mediterranean.

When the grass these bundles are part of die, the bundle floats free and exits the sea onto the beaches. At the moment an estimated 730 tonnes of plastic waste enters the Mediterranean sea every day, so a way to remove it is very important.

Perhaps we need to start collecting these Neptune balls so that the plastic they contain can be either recycled or totally removed from the environment.

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