Research: Plastic debris in the open ocean

20 August 2014

Research at the Universidad de Cádiz in Spain shows a worldwide distribution of plastic on the surface of the open ocean. However, the global load of plastic on the open ocean surface was estimated to be on the order of tens of thousands of tons, far less than expected. Sink may involve a combination of fast nano-fragmentation of the microplastic into particles of microns or smaller, their transference to the ocean interior by food webs and ballasting processes, and processes yet to be discovered. Resolving the fate of the missing plastic debris is of fundamental importance to determine the impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean. An article about the research is published in PNAS.
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