Friday March 10, 2023

CBS News

A group of scientists analyzing global data collected over the past four decades have found a “rapid increase” in ocean plastic pollution since 2005, according to a research article published in the journal Plos One. That increase has created a “plastic smog” in the world’s oceans made up of an estimated 171 trillion plastic particles, the scientists said.

The authors used 11,777 samples taken from the surface layer of oceans, which is roughly the first 600 feet of depth, to estimate the average amount of microplastics in that layer over time, then compared that to an historic overview of international policy measures aimed at reducing ocean pollution.

“Our data shows an increase in ocean plastic pollution at the same time as a decrease in effective laws and agreements. There are many factors to consider (e.g., increases in production and waste, fragmentation of existing plastics), but the need for legally binding agreements cannot be overstated,” said The 5 Gyres Institute, which organized the study.

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