A scientist has filmed the moment plastic microfibre is ingested by plankton, illustrating how the material is affecting life beneath the waves.
The footage shows one way that waste plastic could be entering the marine and global food chain.
An estimated 150 million tonnes of plastic “disappears” from the world’s waste stream each year.
Waste plastic in the world’s seas has been recognised by the United Nations as a major environmental problem.
“When I saw it, I thought that here was something, visually, to convey to the public the problem of plastic in the sea,” said Richard Kirby, who recorded the footage.
“What intrigues me is that because the fibre has made a loop inside the animal’s gut, you can actually see the consequences of something as small as the arrow worm consuming microplastic.”