Around four billion minute fibres could be littering each square kilometre of some of the world’s deep seas, demonstrating that plastic debris is now creating cause for concern in some of the remotest parts of the marine environment.
That is one of the findings of a pioneering international study examining the scale of the presence of microplastics at depths of up to 3500m in parts of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea.
Existing research had shown that in recent decades plastic debris has become almost omnipresent on the world’s coastlines, but the extent of its concentration close to shorelines had not increased in line with predictions based on the production and use of plastic.
However, the current study – led by scientists from Plymouth University and the Natural History Museum – indicates this may be because microplastics have sunk to the ocean floor, with the number of fibres recorded as being up to four times more abundant in the deep seas than in shallow and coastal waters.
In fact, the current study has led scientists to suggest – in areas of the Indian Ocean at least – that around 4 billion fibres per km² would be present in seamounts.
The Latest on: Microplastics
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The Latest on: Microplastics
- A microfluidic chip enables fast analysis of water microplastics by optical spectroscopyon May 18, 2021 at 3:27 am
Microplastics contaminating drinking water is a growing issue that has been the focus of a few recent studies, where a major bottleneck is the time-consuming analysis. In this work, a ...
- New technique removes microplastics from seawateron May 18, 2021 at 12:27 am
A microfiltration process shows promise in removing microplastics – plastic particles less than 5 millimetres in size – from contaminated seawater 1. The process, developed by a research team from the ...
- Report urges California to act to protect marine ecosystems against microplasticson May 17, 2021 at 5:43 am
Roughly 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year, and the U.S. is one of the top contributors to plastic pollution. It's been found in the seafloor and surface water, on beaches and ...
- Are microplastics a health risk?on May 16, 2021 at 2:00 pm
As much as the idea might be unpalatable, all of our diets are now likely to include tiny servings of plastic.
- It’s on our plates and in our poo, but are microplastics a health risk?on May 15, 2021 at 1:13 pm
The omnipresent plastic is rife in dust, rice, placentas and tap water, but experts say it’s hard to untangle whether it’s harmful to humans ...
- Water firms are main source of microplastics in UK rivers, study sayson May 13, 2021 at 8:10 am
Research says discharge of untreated sewage and wastewater during dry spells to blame ...
- Answer Man: Microplastics in local water? In the French Broad?on May 13, 2021 at 2:01 am
A reader asks if micro-plastics have been found in local drinking water, waterways or the wastewater treatment plant.
- Breakdown: Why microplastics are everywhereon May 12, 2021 at 7:55 am
According to the US Geological Survey microplastics are found in 12% of freshwater fish in the United States. They are also found at a rate of 112,000 particles for every square mile of water in the ...
- Microplastics Found in Europe’s Largest Ice Cap – In a Remote and Pristine Area of Vatnajökull Glacieron May 11, 2021 at 12:31 am
In a recent article in Sustainability, scientists from Reykjavik University (RU), the University of Gothenburg, and the Icelandic Meteorological Office describe their finding of microplastic in a ...
- Fish guts on the Red Line: Chicagoan was transporting specimens for a study showing the long history of microplastics in freshwater specieson May 6, 2021 at 1:32 pm
Just as in saltwater, dissected museum specimens reveal particles of plastic have been increasing in the ecosystem since the 1950s.
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