Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Great Pacific Garbage Patch Estimated to Have 16 Times More Waste Than Previously Thought

 According to a new research paper published in Nature's peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports on March 22, 2018, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has about 16 times more waste than previously thought floating there. This mass of waste spans approximately 1.6 million square kilometres (617,763 square miles), with the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic weighing nearly 80,000 metric tons (90,000 tons).
 The new data was made possible through a mega-expedition conducted in 2015 and a crowd-funding campaign organized by The Ocean Cleanup in 2014. In this expedition, 30 vessels simultaneously scoured the area of debris with standard surface sampling nets. In all, the fleet collected a total of 1.2 million plastic samples while aerial surveys scanned more than 300 square kilometres (116 square miles) of ocean surface.
 The researchers found that 92 percent of the mass of the patch was made up of larger objects while only 8 percent of the mass contained microplastics (pieces of plastic smaller than 5 mm [0.2 inches] in size). "This plastic accumulation rate inside the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which was greater than in the surrounding waters, indicates that the inflow of plastic into the patch continues to exceed the outflow," noted Laurent Lebreton, lead author of this study.

Read more about this fascinating story at: http://earthsky.org/earth/Great-pacific-garbage-patch-bigger-than-thought
Or read the full study at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22939-w

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