In wake of the ever-increasing amount of plastic in Earth’s oceans, the Mariner’s Aquarium in South Beach, Miami has unveiled its new plastic exhibit.
The exhibit boasts hundreds of different types of plastic, ranging from microplastics to shopping bags that are almost four feet wide. The plastics come in a wide spectrum of colors, the brightest of which belong to tropical plastics.
“Our tropical plastics are definitely the most colorful,” reported museum resident marine biologist Joanne Walters. “Those are the plastics that live in salt water and prefer warm temperatures. Our freshwater plastics are pretty breathtaking, too, and those are the ones that you can find in rivers or lakes.”
The exhibit has already attracted hundreds of visitors, many of whom are eager for a glimpse of the majestic underwater world. “I’ve always wanted to see what lives in our coral reefs,” said museum visitor Rebecca Wood. “For my whole life, I’ve dreamed of graceful plastic bags and schools of candy bar wrappers, but I never thought I’d get to see them for myself.”
While this is one of the first times that plastic has been kept in captivity, the plastic has thrived for weeks now. Plastic has a relatively long lifespan in the ocean, too, but it is often hunted by its natural predators, which include the sea turtle and seagull.
Concerns have surfaced from various environmental agencies that the aquarium is disrupting the ecosystem by removing plastic, but the aquarium released a statement claiming a commitment to “dumping just as much plastic as is removed.”