Scientists Find Plastic Hotspots in the Deep Ocean
Image: FLICKR/5GYRES/OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY
Scientists have discovered microplastic hotspots on the ocean floor, formed by deep-sea currents that act as conveyor belts moving tiny plastic fragments around. One such hotspot, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, part of the Mediterranean Sea, had 1.9 million microplastic pieces on just one square meter, according to a new study published in the journal Science.
Public awareness of plastic pollution in the ocean has largely been driven by the discovery of floating masses of plastic, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is roughly the size of Texas. But of the 10 million tons of plastic waste that enter the oceans each year, these floating patches account for just 1 percent. The other 99 percent is believed to reside in the deep ocean. Now, the discovery of these deep conveyor belts will help scientists better track and locate these underwater accumulations.