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Earth Science

Trillions of Plastic Pieces May Be Trapped In Arctic Ice 136

Posted by samzenpus
from the plastic-ice dept.
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Humans produced nearly 300 million tons of plastic in 2012, but where does it end up? A new study has found plastic debris in a surprising location: trapped in Arctic sea ice. As the ice melts, it could release a flood of floating plastic onto the world. From the article: 'Scientists already knew that microplastics—polymer beads, fibers, or fragments less than 5 millimeters long—can wind up in the ocean, near coastlines, or in swirling eddies such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But Rachel Obbard, a materials scientist at Dartmouth College, was shocked to find that currents had carried the stuff to the Arctic.'"
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Trillions of Plastic Pieces May Be Trapped In Arctic Ice

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @07:40AM (#47073197)

    Plastics that are still in visible pieces are nuisance, and all oceans have tons and tons and TONS of plastic based flotsam - I worked as a sailor before and even in the middle of a big ocean we saw plastic garbage floating

    But the real danger are those teeny tiny plastic particles

    Most plastic breaks down after prolonged exposure to sunlight, and they kept breaking apart as time goes by, until they became teeny tiny plastic (polymer) particles which inevitably end up in the food-chain (sea creatures - little fishes - bigger fishes - entrees in restaurants - people's stomach) and sooner and later all of us start eating food containing plastic particles

    Yes, even those so-called bio-degradable plastics only degrade until they become teeny tiny polymer particles, and then stop degrading

    What kind of problem will those plastic particles do to our health ? Anybody knows ?

  • Re:Remember (Score:2, Informative)

    by NotDrWho (3543773) on Friday May 23, 2014 @08:53AM (#47073489)

    I remember it too. It was during the tree-hugging phase in the 70's, IIRC. Environmentalism is a notoriously faddish religion. And at that time it was all the rage to "save the trees." In the 80's this would be dumped in favor of the new hip "save the ozone layer."

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead