The ocean depths hide tiny plastic particles


Dangerous for the environment and human health - microplastic - has been found under the surface of the oceans.

According to scientists from Florida Atlantic University, 51 trillion tons of microplastics float on the surface of the oceans. These tiny particles, not exceeding 5 mm, pollute numerous ecosystems.

Meanwhile, the authors of a new study published in the journal Global Change Biology examined the presence of plastic in the entire water column, at various points in the South Atlantic vortex.

The smallest particles, which had been largely overlooked so far, were found to be crucial for the level of contamination. The study also showed that weak sea currents create small regions where plastic is particularly readily accumulated and where it can be consumed in large amounts by various organisms, such as zooplankton.

The work of scientists at Florida Atlantic University shows the urgent need to estimate the microplastic lurking in the depths. The results of the research indicated that the distribution of plastic depends largely on the depth, region, type of plastic and particle size.

A significant part of the small particles were, inter alia, high-density polymers used, for example, in paints for painting ships, as well as polyamide used to make clothes, ropes and fishing nets.

This is a big difference compared to samples collected on the surface, which usually contain floating polymers, such as polyethylene used, for example, in the production of films, or polypropylene, from which, for example, packages and bottles are made.