First results indicate that the majority (about 90%) of the plastic mass in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the top 5 m of the upper 2000 m of the water column we sampled; most debris is still found at the surface.
If not intervened by cleanup of the plastic pollution that is already present, plastic fallout will likely increase contamination of the deep sea below ocean garbage patches, where cleanup is even more difficult, if not impossible.
In our mission to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, we rely on a thorough understanding of the ocean plastic pollution problem. To this end, our earlier studies of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch have found that the plastic afloat in the ocean garbage patches is rapidly increasing and seems highly persistent. In our new study, ”First evidence of plastic fallout from the North Pacific Garbage Patch”, published today in Scientific Reports, we show that part of the plastic debris floating in the North Pacific Garbage Patch (commonly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or GPGP) is lost to the underlying deep-sea through the fallout of once-buoyant microplastics.
To read more about this unfolding environmental disaster click on Ocean Cleanup