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Science. 2010 Sep 3;329(5996):1185-8. doi: 10.1126/science.1192321. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

Plastic accumulation in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre.

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1
Sea Education Association, Post Office Box 6, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA. klavender@sea.edu

Abstract

Plastic marine pollution is a major environmental concern, yet a quantitative description of the scope of this problem in the open ocean is lacking. Here, we present a time series of plastic content at the surface of the western North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea from 1986 to 2008. More than 60% of 6136 surface plankton net tows collected buoyant plastic pieces, typically millimeters in size. The highest concentration of plastic debris was observed in subtropical latitudes and associated with the observed large-scale convergence in surface currents predicted by Ekman dynamics. Despite a rapid increase in plastic production and disposal during this time period, no trend in plastic concentration was observed in the region of highest accumulation.

PMID:
20724586
DOI:
10.1126/science.1192321
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