An Invasive Species
By Ana Pego, Bernardo P. Carvalho & Isabel Minhos Martins
There’s an invasive species in our oceans: Plasticus maritimus. It’s a threat to our world. What is it? What can we do about it?
When she was young, biologist Ana Pêgo didn’t play in a backyard, but on a beach. She walked along the shore, looked at tide pools, and collected fossils. As she grew older, Pêgo noticed a new species at the seaside: plastic. She decided to collect it, study it, and give it a Latin name—Plasticus maritimus—to warn people of its dangers to our planet.
Inspired by Pêgo’s life’s work, and filled with engaging science and colorful photographs, this foundational look at ocean plastics explains why they are such an urgent contemporary issue. Pêgo tells us how plastics end up in our rivers, lakes, and oceans, shares plastic’s chemical composition and physical properties, and offers a field guide to help readers identify and understand this new invasive species in all its forms, from the obvious (fishing nets and water bottles) to the unfamiliar (tiny, clear particles called microplastics). Finally, she offers a critical look at our current “solutions” to plastic contamination and in her most important proposal—REVOLUTIONIZE—calls for deep changes in our habits, motivating young and old alike to make a difference, together. An artificial and almost indestructible species, Plasticus maritimus deserves to have its days numbered! Together, we can send it packing.
Published in Partnership with the David Suzuki Institute.