Oceans Drowning in Plastic

New York Times: “A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One estimated that 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic, large and small, weighing 269,000 tons, can be found throughout the world’s oceans, even in the most remote reaches.”

“The largest source of plastic by weight comes from discarded fishing nets and buoys, said Marcus Eriksen, the leader of the effort and co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute, a nonprofit group that combines scientific research with antipollution activism.”

“Dr. Eriksen suggested that an international program that paid fishing vessels for reclaimed nets could help address that issue. But that would do nothing to solve the problem of bottles, toothbrushes, bags, toys and other debris that float across the seas and gather at ‘gyres’ where currents converge.”

“The survey teams were surprised to find far fewer samples of small plastic debris: “a one-hundredth as many particles as their models predicted.”

“The fact that the small plastics are disappearing is hardly good news. In fact, it could be far more troubling than the unsightly mess the plastics cause … Researchers are concerned that fish and other organisms that consume the plastics could reabsorb the toxins, and pass them along to other predators when they are eaten.”

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