The highest level of microplastics ever recorded on the seafloor has been identified by scientists at the Mediterranean, near Italy with the contamination being pulled from the sediments at the bottom.
Around 1.9 million plastic pieces per square meter were found by the analysis led by the University of Manchester.
Tiny fragments from larger objects that had broken down over time and fibers from clothing and other synthetic textiles were among the items included in the contamination.
The researchers believe that due to powerful bottom currents in the ocean, the microplastics ( plastics that are smaller than 1mm) are getting accumulated in specific locations on the ocean floor.
Dr. Ian Kane, who fronted the international team said, “Imagine underwater sand dunes, similar drift dunes are built by these currents.”
He said, “These dunes can be hundreds of meters high and tens of kilometers long. They are among the largest sediment accumulations found on the planet. Predominantly, they are made of very fine silt, so expecting to find microplastics within them is natural.”
Every year, the amount of plastic waste entering the oceans, mostly through rivers, is calculated to be something in the order of 4 to 12 million tonnes.
The great clusters of debris that wash up with the tides or floats in gyres on coastlines have been focused on by the media headlines. But considering the marine plastic budget, this visible trash is considered to represent just 1% of the waste. The other 99% wastes’ exact whereabouts are still unknown.