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Plastic accumulation in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre
Law, K.L.; Morét-Ferguson, S.; Maximenko, N.A.; Proskurowski, G.; Peacock, E.E.; Hafner, J.; Reddy, C.M. (2010). Plastic accumulation in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre. Science (Wash.) 329(5996): 1185-1188.
In: Science (Washington). American Association for the Advancement of Science: New York, N.Y. ISSN 0036-8075, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Law, K.L.
  • Morét-Ferguson, S.
  • Maximenko, N.A.
  • Proskurowski, G.
  • Peacock, E.E.
  • Hafner, J.
  • Reddy, C.M.

    Plastic marine pollution is a major environmental concern, yet a quantitative description of the scope of this problem in the open ocean is lacking. Here, we present a time series of plastic content at the surface of the western North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea from 1986 to 2008. More than 60% of 6136 surface plankton net tows collected buoyant plastic pieces, typically millimeters in size. The highest concentration of plastic debris was observed in subtropical latitudes and associated with the observed large-scale convergence in surface currents predicted by Ekman dynamics. Despite a rapid increase in plastic production and disposal during this time period, no trend in plastic concentration was observed in the region of highest accumulation.

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