These "Plastic Dreams" are Now Nature's Nightmare
With as much attention as there's been attributed towards the reduction of single use plastic objects & bags, one plastic element still eludes us.
Over 10 million tons of plastic waste is deposited into our oceans each year. The plastic pollution we commonly think of such as water bottles and straws, only account for about 1%. The remaining 99% of deposits, consisting of microplastics, has long been a mystery until now. A recent research study has discovered 1.9 million pieces of microplastics in just a thin square meter area. The finding is the highest level of microplastics ever recorded on the ocean floor.
Multiple sources can send microsplastics into our oceans, including river ways that carry domestic & industrial wastewater. The microplastics found in the study are mostly made up of fibers from textiles and clothing that have accumulated in various sand dune-like areas as a result of sediment drifts, ocean currents, and underwater avalanches. Critical ecosystems exist in these microplastic hotspots with clear evidence of the pollutants being absorbed or consumed by organisms.
This finding directly links the behavior of ocean currents to the concentration of microplastics, enabling us to better predict future hotspots and study their impact on marine life. Hopefully waking us all up from this environmental nightmare.