World: Scientists find 414 million pieces of plastic debris on remote islands - - PressFrom - US
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WorldScientists find 414 million pieces of plastic debris on remote islands

12:21  21 may  2019
12:21  21 may  2019 Source:   nbcnews.com

187 countries -- not including the US -- agree to restrict global plastic waste trade

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They Found 414 Million Pieces of Plastic . An estimated 414 million pieces of debris are now littering the remote islands , and the vast majority of that waste The scientists surveyed seven of the 27 islands , which made up 88 percent of the total landmass of the islands , and estimated that they

They found 414 million pieces of plastic debris . Some scientists estimate that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in oceans worldwide. In a new study, scientists tallied the amount of plastics and microplastics that have accumulated on an archipelago in the Indian Ocean called the

Scientists find 414 million pieces of plastic debris on remote islands© Silke Stuckenbrock Lead author Jennifer Lavers looks out at the plastic debris covering a Cocos (Keeling) Island beach

The amount of plastic pollution previously thought to exist around the world may be a dramatic underestimate — because the vast majority of plastic pollution may actually be below the surface.

That's the takeaway from a survey of plastic pollution on the beaches of Australia's Cocos Islands, made up of two coral atolls.

An estimated 414 million pieces of debris are now littering the remote islands, and the vast majority of that waste is buried below the surface, according to a new study. But even that is likely an underestimate, a group of researchers reported May 16 in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Almost one million shoes and over 370,000 toothbrushes -- they're among the 414 million pieces of plastic found washed ashore on the remote In 2017, Lavers revealed research that showed remote Henderson Island in the South Pacific Ocean had the highest density of plastic debris reported

Debris on Cocos (Keeling) Islands was mostly bottles, cutlery, bags and straws, but also included 977,000 shoes, study says.

What's more, because most of this plastic is buried below the surface, and most global surveys don't look below the surface, the amount of plastic pollution worldwide may be way more than we previously thought, they reported. [In Images: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch]

The scientists surveyed seven of the 27 islands, which made up 88 percent of the total landmass of the islands, and estimated that they were littered with 262 tons (238 metric tons) of plastic. A quarter of those pieces of debris were single-use or disposable items such as straws, bags and toothbrushes (about 373,000 of them), The researchers also identified some 977,000 shoes.

Roughly 93% of the debris found, most of it tiny micro-debris, was actually buried below the surface. But because they only dug 3.94 inches (10 centimeters) into the sand, and couldn't access some beaches that are known to have a lot of debris, these numbers are likely conservative, lead author Jennifer Lavers, a research scientist at the University of Tasmania, said in a statement.

Paradise lost: 400 million pieces of trash discovered on beaches of remote tropical islands

Paradise lost: 400 million pieces of trash discovered on beaches of remote tropical islands We know trash is everywhere on Earth, all the way from the top of Mount Everest to the very bottom of the ocean. Now, giant mounds of it are even washing up on the shores of otherwise pristine tropical islands in the Indian Ocean.

Almost 1 million shoes and over 370,000 toothbrushes — they’re among the 414 million pieces of plastic found washed ashore on the remote Cocos (Keeling) “ Plastic pollution is now ubiquitous in our oceans, and remote islands are an ideal place to get an objective view of the volume of plastic

Plastic pollution is a serious problem for the world. An estimated 414 million pieces of plastic were You are probably wondering how exactly scientists counted the plastic debris on the beach. It is very likely that you can find plastic deeper than this. Thus, this is a very conservative estimate by

"Plastic pollution is now ubiquitous in our oceans, and remote islands are an ideal place to get an objective view of the volume of plastic debris now circling the globe," Lavers said. Back in 2017, the same group of researchers revealed that the Henderson Island, a remote, uninhabited island in the South Pacific, was also the world's most polluted one.

Plastic production has increased dramatically over the last decade — in the last 13 years alone, we've manufactured nearly half of all the plastic produced in the last six decades A recent global estimate finds that 5.25 trillion items of plastic are now in the ocean, which is more than the number of stars in the Milky Way, according to the paper.

The amount of debris buried up to about 4 inches (10 cm) below the surface of the beach is 26 times higher than the amount visible on its surface, the researchers wrote. "This suggests global debris surveys, the majority of which are focused solely on surface debris, have drastically underestimated the scale of debris accumulation."

Originally published on Live Science.

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Newborn Hawaii beach is already polluted with tiny pieces of plastic.
“There's this romantic idea of the remote tropical beach, clean and pristine…. That kind of beach doesn't exist anymore.” Plastic, including microplastics, has washed ashore on some of the world’s most remote beaches, uninhabited by humans. Scientists have often likened the current state of the ocean to a plastic soup. Microplastics are so prolific that they rain down from the sky in remote mountain locations and turn up in most of our table salt. It's still unclear how this excess of plastic will affect marine ecosystems, but scientists suspect it may have dangerous consequences for wildlife and human health.

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