The concentration of plastic in the oceans has experienced a “unprecedented increase” since 2005 until reaching an approximate current level of more than 2 million tons, according to a study published this Wednesday in the academic journal PLOS ONE.
“Starting in 2005, there was a fast and consistent increase from the abundance of plastic. Based on our model, we estimate that in 2019 there were floating (in the ocean) between 82 and 358 trillion particles (171 trillion on average) weighing between 1.1 and 4.9 million tons (2.3 million on average).” says the study.
The researchers, including scientists from the United States, Sweden, Chile and Australia, analyzed global data on the concentration of plastics on the surface of the seas spanning from 1979 to 2019.
They observed that, from 1990 to 2005, the amounts of plastic varied without detecting a clear trend, something that could be due to “important policies that were implemented during that period”, such as the ban on the discharge of plastics from ships included in the International Convention for Prevent Pollution from Ships (Marpol).
Starting in 2006, however, as global production grew, and as macroplastics already floating on the ocean surface began to break down into microplastics, the concentration of these types of compounds increased considerably.
The researchers admit the limitations of collecting data on a global scalebut they defend that their findings are in line with the trends registered on the beaches, where data is collected independently.
“The parallels strongly suggest that plastic pollution in the world’s oceans over the last 15 years has reached unprecedented levels,” they conclude, and call on politicians from around the world to come together to pass rules with specific objectives and that are not limited to the business sphere.
They also warn that without urgent and forceful measures to limit the amount of plastic that ends up in the water, the rate at which this material ends up in the oceans could almost triple by 2040.
Scientists from the United Kingdom and Australia have described for the first time a disease caused exclusively by the plastic intake. They are calling her plasticosis and they found it in a species of seabird, but it could be the tip of the iceberg: the disease could be more widespread and the possibility that it also affects seabirds is not ruled out. Humans.
The scientists described that individuals affected by plasticosis present scars in the digestive tract, that are generated after the ingestion of residues. This is the first recorded case of induced fibrosis specifically by plastic in wild animals, the researchers said.
The results of the research were published in the journal Journal of Hazardous Materials. According to the study, plastic pollution is becoming more frequent. The scars in the population of birds studied have extended to specimens of different ages.
(With information from EFE)
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