Plastic in the Ocean

The Five Great Oceanic Garbage Patches. Source:  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150109-oceans-plastic-sea-trash-science-marine-debris/?source=maps
The Concentration of Plastic in the Five Great Oceanic Garbage Patches. Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150109-oceans-plastic-sea-trash-science-marine-debris/?source=maps

There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.

This trash tends to collect in the world’s five major ocean gyres, which are large systems of spiraling currents. Then, as the plastic degrades into fragments, it falls into deeper water, where currents carry it to remote parts of the globe. For wildlife in these areas, ingesting plastic can be unavoidable, and can have devastating health effects.

Map: National Geographic Staff, Jamie Hawk
Source: Andres Cozar, University of Cadiz, Spain

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