Math Might Help Nail Oceans' Plastic 'Garbage Patch' Polluters

September 2, 2014 4:03 PM

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Math Might Help Nail Oceans' Plastic 'Garbage Patch' Polluters

Who's flushing plastic pollution into the oceans, creating tiny time bombs that kill fish, birds and sea turtles ingesting what they think is food? That question has been around since 1997, when the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" was discovered, and a new mathematical model could provide the tool needed to track down the culprits.

The model shows that pollution can cross what scientists thought were boundaries between oceans and especially its five gyres — large circular currents that are now known to trap floating debris in what have been dubbed garbage patches. Most of that trash is not even visible: It's tiny plastic pelle...

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