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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 Travis Mansbridge (830557) on Friday May 23, 2014 @06:22AM (#47073047)
    When it gets cold, water turns to ice. When it gets warm, ice turns to water. The fact that both of these things occur naturally is not a statement on climate change.
  • Sea ice age (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WhiteZook (3647835) on Friday May 23, 2014 @06:42AM (#47073097)
    Most of the current sea ice is less than 10 years old, as the ice regular melts in the summer, and is replaced by fresh ice in the winter. It's hard to imagine that there are significant amounts of plastic trapped in the ice compared to plastic that is free floating in the ocean.
  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Friday May 23, 2014 @06:56AM (#47073125)

    Firstly a disclaimer: I am not the historian you asked for (i.e. no expert). But I do have 2 cents to add to this comment.

    I think cities/towns were often built on high ground as a prevention against flooding. People want to live near fresh water for irrigation, but still keep their houses dry.
    Therefore, the main elevation of the town centers is not a giant pile of old trash, but a natural elevation (also known as a "hill"). But it is true that people would discard old items into a canal or river, or just in the mud, and in old cities you will almost always find something if you dig down.

  • by clonehappy (655530) on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:26AM (#47073707)

    Wait...as it melts?? It melts every year, then freezes again. It's not like some barrage of plastic that's been sequestered in ice for billions of years is suddenly going to be dumped into the ocean because of the Arctic sea ice "melting", a thinly veiled reference to global warming as if the melting isn't happening every summer. And if it was created in 2012, then gets released, then a little bit freezes in the ice next year...it doesn't sound like this is even a story!

    As an aside, what happened to Slashdot? What happened to our ability to critically think in general? Crap like this should never see the light of day on the main page, it's almost as if we're just expected to consume whatever the headline is alluding to, truth be damned, and subsequently have the proper level of outrage as is determined by the +5 comments. What happened to active discourse, agreeing to disagree, and civility even amongst people with different ideologies? Every day, I read more and more comments along the lines of "If you disagree with me, you should be executed." It makes me really, really sad and angry at the same time that we've been effectively reduced to the mental capacity of neanderthals when it comes to our science/religion of choice (and really, what's the difference anymore?)

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