Oceans: the effects of plastics on animals and the environment

The first effect of plastic waste is a visual impact: debris washed up on the banks of rivers, beaches, piles of floating objects at sea. But some less directly apparent effects are also more severe.

Every second, hundreds of tons of waste (out of the 4 billion generated annually) ends up at sea, much of it plastic. Floating objects or microparticles, this plastic waste is deposited on beaches, dispersed at sea and found on the seabed. What effects do they have on man and his environment?

Highly resistant, abandoned or accidentally lost nets constitute a significant cause of mortality in animals; associations estimate that 100,000 marine mammals and one million birds die from strangulation or choking in these traps around the world each year. 

Transport of invasive species via plastic

Not many studies have been conducted, but the risk is there, with its environmental, health and economic consequences (invasive algae, bacteria in oyster or fish farming areas).
The recent discovery of the insect Halobates sericeus living on floating plastics in the Pacific is a perfect illustration. A 2007 study showed that the spread of species in subtropical waters has almost doubled due to debris. It tripled in temperate waters.

The real danger is the alteration of ecosystem balance caused by the transport of invasive species over long distances. Some wastes are useful floating supports for bacteria (specific pathogens for marine organisms such as humans, vibrios for example), unicellular or invertebrates, worms, insects, capable of acclimatizing in an area other than their original biotope, especially concerning climate change 

Ingestion of plastic waste by animals

The ingestion of plastic waste is another cause of mortality, affecting about 660 species. Seabirds sting floating pieces of plastic, and turtles confuse them with jellyfish.

Due to their components (plasticizers, additives) and the possible release of adsorbed contaminants, plastics are also suspected to be a source of water contamination. But in reality, the measured concentrations are too low for the substances released during their degradation to constitute a significant toxicity risk. The level of chemical contaminants remains limited but more dangerous for the filtering of marine organisms that accumulate them.

Large whales filter seawater, ingesting large quantities of microplastics. Molluscs, such as mussels, filter m3 of water containing microparticles. Plankton, invertebrates or small fish can also ingest Microwaste. However, the rate of ingestion remains very anecdotal for the species consumed (less than 0.01% of commercial fish), and there is no trace of it on our plates. Although micro waste can block the digestive and respiratory systems of some individuals, it is not digested due to the lack of suitable enzymatic equipment.

Black & Decker FSMH1621 The Most Versatile Premium Steam Cleaner


At Plurel, we do care about the environment and wanted to introduce our readers to a great piece of tech that will have a minimal impact on your beloved planet!

Presentation and Features

The Black & Decker FSMH1621 is not just a simple steam cleaner and mop, as its removable tank can be transformed into a hand-held steam cleaner.

ghksbgkbkvbskbkbfkwbfbwkbqThis 2-in-1 function, made possible by the addition of a flexible hose on the tank, makes it possible to clean much more than just the floors. Several accessories are provided to be able to wash, also, the tiled walls of the bathroom, for example, but also to clean the windows of the house or even to open up all the joints.

Useful as a portable cleaner, it is also valuable for its primary function as a steam brush. With Autoselect technology, the steam flow rate is adjustable according to the floor (it is effective on all types of floors since an adapter for carpets and carpets is available).

To cope with certain more encrusted tasks, its Boost Steam button allows you to generate 50% more steam for 10 seconds. Also, thanks to its 3.5kg once filled and 180° swivel head, it is quite maneuverable, and it finally has a “parking” position that makes it stand on its own and automatically puts it in standby mode.

It can be used very quickly, its heating time is only 15 seconds, and with its 0.35L tank, it offers an autonomy of up to 16 minutes. Equipped with an anti-limestone filter, it can be filled with tap water or demineralized water, and the two microfibre and nylon pads provided are machines washable.

Advantages and disadvantages

agshgdshjfsruheswwwwwwwThe Black & Decker FSMH1621 is a well-designed steam brush, regarding power, ease of use and versatility. With a pressure of up to 4 bar, it disinfects quickly and effectively removes even the driest and most encrusted stains on the floor. Also, with the three different settings present directly on its handle (tile/lino/parquet), it can be used everywhere very quickly.

It’s hard not to be seduced by the removable tank, which is transformed into a handheld steam cleaner. With its wide range of accessories, it can be used anywhere in the house: for example, you can use chemical-free cleaning inside the oven, but you can also use steam to clean all the windows.
The squeegee is undoubtedly a little small (for glass windows, mainly), but at least it is a great help to carry out this other regular household task more quickly!

The only regrettable detail in this device is its small tank and low range. With only about fifteen minutes of use, it is necessary to fill the tank several times during a major cleaning operation. We console ourselves by thinking that at least, with only 15 seconds of waiting, the heating time is very fast and that it doesn’t waste too much time.


Our rating is 4,3 of 5

With its 2-in-1 function, the Black & Decker FSMH1621 is an ideal steam brush for cleaning and disinfecting far more than the home floor. Well designed and equipped with many accessories, it is easy to use in any situation.

And although the tank is a little too small, it is understandable that the manufacturer wants to keep it light and manageable once in the steam hand wash mode. A steam brush that is fast, efficient and versatile, and can justify the financial investment it requires.