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Garbage is mysteriously being broken down in oceans reducing dangers to ocean life

Nadine Watters
Garbage is mysteriously being broken down in oceans reducing dangers to ocean life
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According to a recent study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences Journal, by an ecologist at the University of Cadiz in Spain, ocean garbage from plastic sources is mysteriously disappearing from the ocean.  (1)

Surface ocean littering is disappearing

Andrés Cózar’s study has uncovered that despite the increase in plastic production since the 1970’s there has not been an increase in surface garbage pollution as they originally hypothesized based on the data collected by the National Academy of Sciences.  Their calculations, with respect to a five-fold increase of plastic production worldwide, indicated there should have been millions of tons of garbage in the oceans. (1)

Ocean debris may be breaking down into ocean’s interior reducing harm to ocean life

The study is hypothesizing that the surface garbage is somehow being broken down into tiny undetectable pieces and being carried into the ocean’s interior.  These small plastic pieces, measuring less than 5 millimeters, went unfound by Cózar’s team.  Although there may be long-term effects for the ecosystem, Cózar states, “The plastic pollution in surface waters can more easily interact with the ocean life, because the surface layer of the ocean hosts most of the marine organisms.  It is definitely benefiting a lot of sea life wherein most harm is usually done by surface litter.”  (1)

EPA says most common plastic debris in ocean are ropes, shopping bags and beverage bottles

According to the EPA, plastics are a component of marine debris, consisting of nets, ropes, shopping bags and beverage bottles.  There are positive, proactive approaches being taken by manufacturers such as reducing the weight of soft drink bottles to lessen the impact on the environment which benefits both the land and ocean ecosystems.  For example, “the weight of a 2-liter plastic soft drink bottle has been reduced from 68 grams to 51 grams since 1977, resulting in a 250 million pound decrease of plastic per year in the waste system.”  (2)

Sources for this article include:

(1)  www.livescience.com
(2)  www.epa.gov

Image source: https://flic.kr/p/vRWE3

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