The geological wonders of Trindade Island, a volcanic island in Brazil, have intrigued scientists for years. However, the recent discovery of plastic debris in the island’s rocks has raised concerns.
According to researchers, melted plastic has combined with sedimentary granules and other debris to form rocks called “plastiglomerates,” offering evidence of human impact on the earth’s geological cycles.
Geologist Fernanda Avelar Santos from the Federal University of Parana, who led the study, expressed her worries, saying, “This is new and terrifying because pollution has reached geology.”
Fernanda’s team conducted chemical tests to determine the types of plastics in the rocks and found that discarded fishing nets were the primary source. These nets accumulate on the island’s beaches and become embedded in the beach’s natural material when they melt due to rising temperatures.
Trindade Island is a critical conservation spot for green turtles, with thousands of them arriving every year to lay their eggs. The discovery of plastic debris in the rocks raises questions about the human legacy on the earth, particularly the impact of pollution and plastic dumping in the oceans.
Santos remarked that the discovery of plastiglomerates highlights the Anthropocene epoch, a geological period characterized by human activity’s profound impact on the planet’s geology and ecosystems. “The pollution, the garbage in the sea, and the plastic dumped incorrectly in the oceans is becoming geological material…preserved in the earth’s geological records,” she said.
It is concerning that pollution is reaching such remote and supposedly protected areas, and urgent action is needed to address the plastic pollution problem.