By Yasemin Saplakoglu
The amount of plastic pollution that was once believed to exist around the world can be dramatically underestimated – because the vast majority of plastic pollution Maybe even below the surface.
This follows from a study of plastic pollution on the beaches of the Australian Cocos Islands, which is composed of two coral atolls.
An estimated 41
In addition, most of this plastic is hidden beneath the surface, and most global surveys do not look beneath the surface. The amount of plastic pollution worldwide could be far higher than we thought so far, they reported. [In Images: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch]
The scientists studied seven of the 27 islands that made up 88 percent of the total land mass of the islands, and estimated that they were littered with 262 tons (238 tons) of plastic. A quarter of this rubble was disposable or disposable items such as straws, bags and toothbrushes (about 373,000). The researchers also identified about 977,000 shoes.
About 93% of the found debris, most of it tiny micro debris was actually buried beneath the surface. However, since they dug only 10 cm into the sand and have no access to some beaches that are known to contain much debris, these numbers are probably conservative, according to lead author Jennifer Lavers, a scientist at the University of Tasmania said in a statement.
"Plastic pollution is ubiquitous in our oceans today, and remote islands are an ideal place to get an objective overview of the volume of plastic waste that is now orbiting the world," Lavers said. As early as 2017, the same group of researchers found that Henderson Island, a remote, uninhabited island in the South Pacific, is also the most polluted in the world.
Plastics production has increased dramatically in the last decade – over the past 13 years In the last few years alone, we have produced almost half of all the plastic produced in the last six decades. According to a recent global estimate, there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean, which is more than the number of stars in the Milky Way on paper.
The amount of debris that is buried up to 10 cm below the surface of the beach is 26 times higher than the amount that is visible on its surface, the researchers wrote. "This suggests that global studies of waste, most of which focus exclusively on surface waste, have drastically underestimated the level of waste accumulation."
Originally published on Live Science.
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