Scientists are alarmed after discovering rocks formed from plastic debris on the island of Trinidad, just over 1,000 kilometers off the east coast of Brazil.
Molten plastic has become entangled with rocks, posing a problem on this island known as a sanctuary for green sea turtles, according to Reuters.
Brazilian researchers believe this is important evidence of the increasing influence of humans on Earth’s geological cycles.
“It’s new and terrifying because pollution is now reaching the geology,” a geologist at Paraná Federal University in Avilar Santos said in an interview with Reuters.
“We determined that the pollution comes mainly from fishing nets, which are often found on Trinidad island beaches,” she continues.
Ms. Santos and her team conducted tests to identify types of plastics in the rocks called “plastics” to come to this conclusion.
The geologist explains, “The current carries the nets away and they end their journey on the beaches. When the temperature rises, the plastic melts and becomes part of the natural materials on the beach.”
Thousands of green turtles choose this place to lay their eggs.
This discovery raises questions about the legacy of humans on Earth.
The researcher says: “Pollution and garbage in the sea and plastic dumped in the oceans have become geological materials … preserved in the geological archives of the Earth.”
According to the researcher, a new era has begun, the Anthropocene.
This term characterizes the emergence of men as the main force of change on Earth, overcoming geophysical forces.