News Stories

Ocean Pollution

The plastic kind - Plastic pollution is a big problem in the ocean right now and we can't wait until tomorrow to clean it up.

By dragging fine-meshed nets along the ocean's surface, researchers found that while there is a great deal of it there, the volume seems to have stopped increasing, probably due to new laws that prohibit ships from dumping their trash in the ocean. Plastic, which does not dissolve, is still a major problem, though: They found pieces of it in 60% of the over 6,000 samples of trash they examined.

In BBC News, Mark Kinver quotes them as saying, "Plastic marine pollution is a significant environmental concern, yet a quantitative description of the scope of this problem is the open ocean is lacking." This plastic causes sea animals to become entangled in it, tempts seabirds and other marine creatures to eat it (which can lead to their death) and is used as a "raft" to transport some species into areas outside their normal range, where they may be preyed upon by other species or become predators themselves.

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Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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