Seafloor Plastic Pollution Is Not Going Anywhere | Eos

Microplastics in the Childs River, Waquoit Bay, Falmouth, Mass. Credit: Miriam Ritchie, MBL SES 2019

Ecosystems Center scientist Javier Lloret, who has studied microplastic accumulation in Cape Cod marshes, provides comment in this article.

The world produces about 380 million metric tons of plastic annually. A huge share of plastic debris ends up in the world’s oceans, rivers, and lakes in the form of microplastics, contaminating countless ecosystems and threatening animals and humans.

A new study conducted in the Mediterranean Sea hints at the scale of the problem. Researchers found that the mass of particles that have settled to the seafloor mimics global plastic production over the past 5 decades. Once buried in sediment, the study found, microplastics remain intact.

Scientists have long scoured sediment cores—cylinders of mud drilled belowground and brought to the surface—for evidence of microplastic pollution in oceans, lakes, and other aquatic environments. The cores, they found, provide a timeline of the “plastic age,” the period starting in the 1950s when humans started producing the material on an industrial scale. Read rest of the article here.

Source: Seafloor Plastic Pollution Is Not Going Anywhere | Eos