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Where’s All the Plastic Going?

 Where’s All the Plastic Going?

In another attempt to figure out how plastic pollution is affecting our environment, scientists collected plastic from oceans around the world by using nets and then after doing a series of complicated calculations, concluded that about 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing more than 265,000 tons is distributed across the oceans of our planet.
Yes, that’s a lot of trash! But the research also revealed that only 1/100th of this trash can be termed as ‘problematic’. Small pieces of plastic are the most dangerous ones, since sea creatures, land animals and even the birds eat them unknowingly and die. But the amount of small pieces or plastic particles found during this research was comparatively far less than the researchers expected. This raises a lot of questions about our understanding on how litter interacts with the environment.
A similar study was conducted in July 2014 that estimated only 35,000 tons of particles in the ocean, whereas researchers expected the numbers to be in millions. Lead scientist of the July study, Andres Cozar Cabanas said in an interview, “Where all the plastic is going in the ocean is now a mystery.” He further added that they have no clue on what this plastic is doing. “It’s somewhere in the ocean life, may be in the depths or has been broken down into fine particles undetectable by our nets.”
Researchers of the recent study are speculating that plastic is getting washed up on beaches or is sinking down in the ocean at a much quicker speed than they originally anticipated.

Chirag Thakkar

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