11M metric tons of plastic pollution is sitting on ocean floor, new research finds

New research from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, and the University of Toronto in Canada, estimates up to 11 million metric tons of plastic pollution is sitting on the ocean floor. 

Every minute, a garbage truck’s worth of plastic enters the ocean. With plastic use expected to double by 2040, understanding how and where it travels is crucial to protecting marine ecosystems and wildlife, the research said.

“We discovered that the ocean floor has become a resting place, or reservoir, for most plastic pollution, with between 3 to 11 million tons of plastic estimated to be sinking to the ocean floor,” Dr. Denise Hardesty, Senior Research Scientist with CSIRO said.

While previous studies have looked at microplastics on the seafloor, this research is the first of its kind, taking into account larger items like nets, cups, and plastic bags.

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