Sunday, July 6, 2014

Plastic is disappearing in our oceans, tiny pieces and more

San Francisco Chronicle/Business Insider/Leslie Baehr, 7/4/14. "4 theories on why the ocean's floating plastic is disappearing."

Plastic and Styrofoam washing up on shore
A new study reveals that plastic in our oceans is disappearing, but scientists aren't sure where the debris is going.

An increasing amount of plastic has been entering our oceans since the 1980s. However, when researchers attempted to map all of this ocean garbage, they found that the amount of trash floating on the water's surface was smaller than expected.  "These studies suggest that surface waters are not the final destination for buoyant plastic debris in the ocean," researchers wrote in a study published on Monday, June 30, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 
We knew that!

Where is the plastic going?  Most plastics that enter the ocean tend to get broken down by the sun and waves into smaller particles around 1 centimeter or less. For this reason, scientists expected to find the tiniest pieces, 1 millimeter or less, in the greatest abundance. But, in most of the samples they took, these tiny pieces were missing.   Read article.  

Related -  Tech Times/James Maynard, 7/5/14. "Plastic disappearing in oceans - where is it all going?" "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a floating vortex of refuse, in the world's largest ocean. Estimates of the size of the whirlpool range between twice the size of Texas, to as large as the continental United States. Scientists studying the feature discovered up to 99 percent of the plastic thought to be present there have vanished. This surprising finding is considered bad news for the environment, as the whereabouts of the material remains a mystery. ....  Biofouling - in which marine plants and animals adhere to debris, pulling the objects underwater, could be another process affecting the plastic waste. "The deep ocean is a great unknown. Sadly, the accumulation of plastic in the deep ocean would be modifying this mysterious ecosystem - the largest of the world - before we can know it," C√≥zar said.

Note photographs: Plastic and Styrofoam on the beach near the "hidden'' Pacifica waterfall by Ian Butler from a San Francisco Chronicle/Outdoors/Tom Stienstra, 3/25/10, "Cleaning up litter bug's trash can"  Unrelated photo of William Count and Ian Butler holding mammoth bones from a Pacifica Riptide reprint from San Jose Mercury News/Julia Scott, 10/25/11.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Find the plastic and you find the 4 million bucks.