A Torrent of Plastic Waste Released By Rapidly Melting Arctic

1 Trillion Pieces of Plastic Trash Flow Into The Ocean

Plastic floating crapMicroplastic “legacy” is frozen into Arctic sea ice

You’ve no doubt heard the tales in passing of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge vortex of decaying, toxic plastic consumer goods larger than the state of Texas. But you ain’t seen nothing yet. According to the new Global Warming Releases Microplastic Legacy report, the plastic garbage fragments now embedded in rapidly melting Arctic ice will be released into the ocean over the course of the coming decade, joining the rest of human handiwork in the dying oceans. The researchers from Dartmouth College and University of Plymouth discovered the massive amount of plastic waste while studying sediment trapped in ice cores.

Invisible to most humans because of its remote location, the concentrations of microplastics are reported to be twice as great as those in the contaminated surface waters of the more famous Pacific Gyre. Similar accumulations of styrofoam and other plastic bits are accumulating in the sands of Oregon beaches, in five other ocean “gyre” and presumably other locations around the planet.

This is not a littering issue. The plastic debris itself is toxic and it adds chemical contaminates to ocean water as it decomposes. With acidification due to CO2 absorption, the oceans the creatures that live in them have enough challenges. Equally disturbing is the effect on sea birds and other marine life when they mistake the trash for food. Tens of thousands of Albatross and other birds die horrifying deaths as their gullets fill up with plastic. The microplastics are broken down by the sun, but they don’t fully decompose for hundreds of years.

In the Arctic study, researchers found from 38 to 234 parts per cubic meter of ice. Perhaps 2,000 cubic meters of ice will melt in the Arctic over the next decade. No matter what Fox News says.

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