Diver rescues fish ensnared in ‘deadly’ underwater plastic

This harrowing video shows a fish being rescued after becoming trapped in a plastic wrapper.

The fish is seen lying on the ocean floor before a diver appears to coax it free from the clear plastic bag and it swims away – a grim reminder of the plastic pollution crisis in our oceans.

The video was posted on Twitter by The Pearl Protectors, a volunteer organisation that advocates towards protecting the marine environment of Sri Lanka.

The group said: “Diver rescues a fish trapped in a polythene packet under the sea. Countless other marine animals get trapped in plastic waste we discard. Even the smallest plastic packaging is deadly underwater.”

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Pearl Protectors organise regular ocean clean-ups both in the sea and on beaches throughout Sri Lanka.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), at least 14 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year. Plastic debris is currently the most abundant type of litter in the ocean, making up 80% of all marine debris found from surface waters to deep-sea sediments.

Plastic is found on the shorelines of every continent, with more plastic waste found near popular tourist destinations and densely populated areas.

The main sources of plastic debris found in the ocean are land-based, coming from urban and stormwater runoff, sewer overflows, littering, inadequate waste disposal, industrial activities, construction and illegal dumping. Ocean-based plastic pollution originates primarily from the fishing industry, nautical activities, and aquaculture.

Under the influence of solar UV radiation, wind, currents and other natural factors, plastic breaks down into small particles called microplastics (particles smaller than 5 mm) or nanoplastics (particles smaller than 100 nm). The small size makes them easy for marine life to ingest accidentally.