Microplastics: Why plastic is causing big problems for worms

Last updated at 17:32
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WATCH: De'Graft investigates why worms are losing weight

A new scientific study has shown that microplastics in soil can be harmful to worms.

The study by Anglia Ruskin University showed that tiny pieces of plastic cause the worms to lose weight.

Scientists believe that the microplastics mainly affect a type of worm called the rosy-tipped earthworm.

Earthworms are an important part of farming as they help boost the nutrients found in the soil - so this is latest form of plastic pollution particularly bad news for farmers.

Scientists found that worms put in soil with a plastic used for bags and bottles called high density polyurethane (HDPE) lost about 3% of their body weight over a month.

Worms placed in similar soil without HDPE put on 5% in body weight over the same period.

Right now scientists aren't sure what it is about microplastic in the soil that causes worms to lose weight.

What is being done about plastic pollution?
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Newsround finds out why plastic is a problem (Pictures from Greenpeace, Caroline Power and Blue Planet II/BBC iPlayer)

Plastic pollution means that plastic can been found in our oceans, in the air and on land. However there are people who are trying to fight against it.

Across the country, some restaurants and cafes have swapped plastic straws for paper straws. In some countries, single use plastics have been banned completely.

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Children inspired by Attenborough deliver plastic protest letters to Downing Street

In 2018, the UK banned the use of microbeads (tiny bits of plastic) in creams and face scrubs.

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    08:41 11 Oct
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