Saturday 18 November 2017

Study of Atlantic's great patch of plastic nets results

Steve Connor

A HUGE expanse of floating plastic debris has been documented for the first time in the North Atlantic Ocean. The size of the affected area rivals the 'great Pacific garbage patch' in the world's other great ocean basin, which generated an outcry over the effects of plastic waste on marine wildlife.

The new plastic waste, which was discovered in an area of the Atlantic to the east of Bermuda, consists mostly of fragments no bigger than a few millimetres wide. But their concentrations and the area of the sea that is covered have caused consternation among marine biologists studying the phenomenon.

Using fine-mesh nets towed from a research ship, the scientists collected more than 64,000 plastic pieces at 6,100 locations over the 22-year survey. The highest concentrations were centred at approximately the same latitude as Atlanta, Georgia but extended about 500 miles north and south of this line.

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