Measuring Microplastics in their Final Resting Place

Recycling plastics have become much more popular around the world, but large amounts are still thrown away. Through the power of wind, gravity, and moving water, much of the globally produced plastics find their way into the oceans. But the plastic bottles we see washing up along the shoreline only tell a small fraction of the marine plastics story. Most plastic debris in the ocean are nearly invisible to the naked eye. These are known as microplastics, and they are far more dangerous to oceanic wildlife than larger plastic debris. After previous studies on this subject have failed to estimate the extent of microplastic pollution in the ocean, a team of researchers has proposed a new set of guidelines for their recording and characterization.

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