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Up to 88 per cent of ocean surfaces sullied by plastic: Study

Published on Jul 1, 2014 6:35 AM
 
A group of women wash used plastic bags for re-use at the shores of a river on June 24, 2014 in Nairobi. As much as 88 per cent of the open ocean's surface contains plastic debris, raising concern about the effect on marine life and the food chain, scientists said on Monday. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - As much as 88 per cent of the open ocean's surface contains plastic debris, raising concern about the effect on marine life and the food chain, scientists said on Monday.

Mass-produced plastics from toys, bags, food containers and utensils make their way into the oceans through storm water runoff, a problem that is only expected to get worse in the coming decades.

The findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences are based on more than 3,000 ocean samples collected around the world by a Spanish science expedition in 2010.

"Ocean currents carry plastic objects which split into smaller and smaller fragments due to solar radiation," said lead researcher Andres Cozar from the University of Cadiz.

 
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