We all know that the list of detrimental effects of pollution is an extremely long one. A recent discovery just added another one to that list: mosquitoes eating plastic. But how and why does that impact the rest of the environment? Mosquito larvae develop in water, which is more often than not, polluted. The larvae then feed on small pieces of plastic, or microplastics, that are in the water. Microplastics are less than 5 millimeters in diameter but still manage to pose a very large threat. The contamination begins when they are eaten by animals living on land. The animals that eat the larvae, or even the adult mosquitoes, are then contaminated with the plastic that was in the mosquitoes..
Having the plastic in their system is a huge threat to their health, as well as the health of other animals that are part of that food chain. Author of the study that uncovered this epidemic Amanda Callaghan stated that “For larger animals, plastics can block their guts. Plastics can have nasty chemicals sticking to the surface and concentrating on the plastic and then exposing the animals to chemicals of a higher concentration.” Because the animals that eat them are often lower on the food chain, the plastic pollution is then spread to the rest of the ecosystem and even environments that were previously not exposed to plastic. In order to combat some of this pollution, some countries and regions within the United States have banned microbeads that are found in toothpaste, face scrubs, and shower gels. While the results of the study are alarming, the good news is that it is highly unlikely that the mosquitoes could transfer the microplastics to humans.