An Ocean of Plastic
How about a swim in the beautiful plastic sea? In what is being described as “the most scientifically rigorous estimate to date,” scientists have more accurately estimated how much plastic is floating in the Earth’s oceans. After gathering data from 24 ship expeditions from around the globe, including the five subtropical gyres, coastal Australia, the Bay of Bengal, and the Mediterranean Sea, researchers estimate that there are 5.25 trillion particles of plastic litter in the oceans – or 269,000 tons of plastic!
“Scientists have now estimated that if you look under a microscope, there’s 4 to 6 times the plastic than there is plankton, marine life,” said Dr. Craig Gilman, Coastal Carolina University’s Associate Professor of Marine Science.
Researchers gathered data on microplastics, which comprise 92% of the ocean’s plastic pollution, gathered using nets as well as large plastic debris from visual surveys. Larger plastics are more abundant near the coastlines while more degraded microplastics were found in the five subtropical gyres. But researchers also found tiny plastic particles, down to the size of a grain of sand in the remove polar regions!
“Our findings show that the garbage patches in the middle of the five subtropical gyres are not the final resting places for the world’s floating plastic trash,” said Marcus Eriksen, research director for the 5 Gyres Institute, who led the study. “The endgame for micro-plastic is interactions with entire ocean ecosystems.”
Help eliminate the plastic from the oceans by eliminating the plastic from your workplace. Switch to a Quench bottleless water cooler! Replacing one traditional office water cooler with a Quench bottleless water cooler prevents as many as 2,100 5-gallon plastic jugs from entering landfills each year!