A new study conducted by an international team of researchers has revealed the highest-ever concentration of microplastic ever seen in the seabed. Researchers who took part in this study suggested that there are up to 1.9 million pieces of microplastic in a thin layer covering one square metre.
Microplastic destroying seafloor
It should be noted that more than 10 million tons of plastic that include straws and cellphone cases enter oceans each year, but these plastics account for only one percent of the total plastic that reaches oceans. On the other hand, microplastics that measure less than five millimetres in length and it accounts for the other 99 percent on the ocean floor.
The new research report suggested that ocean currents in the deep sea are actually acting as conveyor belts, and they are moving these tiny plastic fragments across the seabed.
"Our study has shown how detailed studies of seafloor currents can help us to connect microplastic transport pathways in the deep-sea and find the 'missing' microplastics. The results highlight the need for policy interventions to limit the future flow of plastics into natural environments and minimize impacts on ocean ecosystems," said Mike Claire, a researcher at the National Oceanography Centre and the co-author of the study in a recent statement.
Microplastic concentration stuns experts
Researchers believe that microplastic pollution, if progress, like this, could result in huge environmental issues, and it may even endanger the existence of certain marine species. "Almost everybody has heard of the infamous ocean 'garbage patches' of floating plastic, but we were shocked at the high concentrations of microplastics we found in the deep-seafloor," said Ian Kane, a Manchester University researcher who led the study.
A few months back, another study conducted by a team of Chinese researchers had found that plastic wastes are polluting even the deepest areas of oceans. Researchers revealed that the major cause of this ocean pollution is due to microplastics that include plastic beads, fibre, and other fragments.