Plastic waste in the sea mainly drifts near the coast

via Science Daily

The pollution of the world’s oceans with plastic waste is one of the major environmental problems of our time. However, very little is known about how much plastic is distributed globally in the ocean. Models based on ocean currents have so far suggested that the plastic mainly collects in large ocean gyres. Now, researchers at the University of Bern have calculated the distribution of plastic waste on a global scale while taking into account the fact that plastic can get beached. In their study, which has just been published in the Environmental Research Letters scientific journal, they come to the conclusion that most of the plastic does not end up in the open sea. Far more of it than previously thought remains near the coast or ends up on beaches. “In all the scenarios we’ve calculated,” says Victor Onink, the study’s lead author, “about 80 percent of floating plastic waste drifts no more than 10 kilometers from the coast five years after it entered the ocean.”

Read the full story here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/06/210602130246.htm

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