Friday, July 12, 2024

Almost 16 Million Tons of Microplastic Are Embedded In The Seafloor

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Plastic waste is a visibly growing problem for the environment, especially the ocean. Debris can be seen scattered across shorelines of once-pristine beaches, a sign of how much is making its way into the seas. Over time, the plastic degrades and breaks apart into microplastics – fragments about the size of a grain of rice – which can easily be consumed by sea creatures.

A new study by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) shows that the number of fragments floating on the surface is nothing compared to how many are embedded in the seafloor.

The researchers analyzed core samples and found that 9.25 million to 15.87 million tons of microplastics are embedded on the seafloor. That’s the equivalent of 18 to 24 shopping bags full of plastic fragments for every foot of coastline worldwide (except Antarctica). The team says their research is the first-ever global estimate for microplastics on the seafloor and it’s more than double the estimate of what’s on the surface. Read more…

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