14m tonnes of microplastics litter the ocean floor, study finds

Results highlight extent of plastic pollution, show no area of ocean is immune: Co-author

Scientists from Australia’s national science agency examining samples from deep sea sediments off southern Australia to find out the level of microplastics they contain.
Scientists from Australia’s national science agency examining samples from deep sea sediments off southern Australia to find out the level of microplastics they contain.PHOTO: COMMONWEALTH SCIENTIFIC AND INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH ORGANISATION

Scientists in Australia have calculated for the first time the amount of microplastics in the deep ocean.

Using data from sediment cores extracted from the sea floor in a remote area off southern Australia, the scientists estimated that about 14 million tonnes of microplastics, produced when discarded plastics are broken down over time, have accumulated in deep sea sediments globally.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2020, with the headline '14m tonnes of microplastics litter the ocean floor, study finds'. Print Edition | Subscribe