The Tide of Pollution

July 1, 2014 12:38 PM

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The Tide of Pollution

Small plastic debris on the tops of waves across our oceans is a growing problem. Until now, though, researchers have been unsure exactly how widespread this was. Now, scientists have found that there are five large accumulations of plastic debris in the open ocean that match with the five major twists of oceanic surface water circulation, showing that all of the world's oceans have plastic debris on their surfaces.

"Ocean currents carry plastic objects which split into smaller and smaller fragments due to solar radiation," said Andres Cozar, one of the researchers, in a news release. "Those little pieces of plastic, known as microplastics, can last hundreds of years and were detected in 88 percent of the ocean...

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