Whales that starve with a full stomach because they have eaten indigestible plastic sheeting, seabirds strangled in the steep walls of Heligoland, seals with centimeter deep wounds by plastic waste, which cut them deeper and deeper into the flesh.

Plastic is durable, but in the course of time it is porous and disintegrates into smaller and smaller fragments. In addition micro plastic from cosmetics and cleaning products, via the sewage flows into rivers and oceans. The often invisible, tiny plastic parts swim long since in almost all waters and they attract toxins.

Micro plastics are entering the food chain. Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute have an inventory of the Baltic and North Sea: In the North Sea already there are plastic carpets from microscopic particles. And they find their way into fish and crabs. The micro plastic thus enters the food chain and therefore place humans at risk.

Often plastic waste is so small that you can see it only under a microscope. From the sea, the so-called micro plastic spreads through the food chain and through the air to man. Scientists are alarmed: "We can assume that micro Plastics are now to be found everywhere in the atmosphere," says Emeritus Professor Gerd love life of the Carl-von-Ossietzky University in Oldenburg. The expert for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine has been detecting microscopically small plastic balls in honey and rainwater.

The Federal Environmental Agency defines plastic parts with a size of less than five millimeters as micro plastic. It comes from several sources: In the sea of discarded plastic garbage decomposes over decades and even centuries often in microscopic parts.

One problem is also fishing nets made ​​of plastic that are left behind in the water. Some manufacturers use plastic beads in personal care products, such as shower gels, scrubs and toothpastes.

Most are grinding and abrasive particles to ensure a better cleaning. Many textiles, such as fleece jackets are made ​​of plastic - usually made ​​from recycled PET bottles. Per wash is about 2,000 plastic fibers are replacing, estimates the environmental group WWF. micro plastic absorbs harmful substances from the sea, for example, traces of fire protection products, insecticides, dyes and organic chlorine compounds. Many of the substances are suspected to be carcinogenic or hormonal effects.

"This is a ticking time bomb," says Rolf Buschmann from the federal government for environmental and nature conservation (BUND). Scientific evidence for diseases caused by micro plastic humans did not exist. Experiments on mussels have shown that the particles become embedded in the tissue. This causes inflammation.

We demand:

Toll-free waste disposal in the ports of the North Sea and a ban on the use of plastic bags.

WE can all help by:

Not throwing garbage carelessly away, but always in the trash.

Buying durable products - so you save valuable natural resources and reduce waste. Take advantage returnable bottles from the region and your own bags for shopping.

Fastfood and "to go" make garbage. Use the move lockable coffee cup, enjoy the food on site or take bought bread from home.

When buying cosmetics products, make sure that they do not contain micro-plastic particles such as polyethylenes.

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The @PortofHamburg @bmub -Stop the plastic threat in the north sea petition to barbara.hendricks@bundestag.de,info@hafen-hamburg.de was written by Christiane Henker and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.