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Plastic Accumulation in the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre

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Science  03 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5996, pp. 1185-1188
DOI: 10.1126/science.1192321

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Sea of Plastic

Plastics are highly resistant to degradation and persist in the environment after being discarded. Notoriously, plastics accumulate within ocean gyres, where patterns of surface circulation concentrate them into specific regions. One area of plastic buildup lies in the middle of the North Atlantic Gyre. Law et al. (p. 1185; published online 19 August) report results from 22 years of plankton tows in the North Atlantic that showed the pattern of plastics accumulation was indeed as predicted by theories of ocean circulation, but, despite the steady increase in plastic production and disposal, the concentration of plastic debris had not increased.

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