Ocean Action Hub

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Amount of plastic in the Atlantic Ocean has been 'massively underestimated'

19 Aug 2020 - The mass of so-called invisible microplastics found in the upper waters of the Atlantic has a weight of around 12 to 21 million tonnes, according to new research.

19 Aug 2020 - The mass of so-called invisible microplastics found in the upper waters of the Atlantic has a weight of around 12 to 21 million tonnes, according to new research.

However, the estimate only takes into account three of the most common types of plastic litter in a limited size range.



The figure is comparable in magnitude to estimates of all plastic waste that has entered the Atlantic over the past 65 years - 17 million tonnes, according to a study published in Nature Communications.



This suggests the supply of plastic to the ocean has been substantially underestimated, researchers say.

The study focused on polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene, which are the most prominent plastics commercially and also the most littered types, according to the experts.

Professor Richard Lampitt, from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and one of the co-authors of the paper, said: "If we assume that the concentration of microplastics we measured at around 200 metres deep is representative of that in the water mass to the seafloor below with an average depth of about 3,000 metres, then the Atlantic Ocean might hold about 200 million tonnes of plastic litter in this limited polymer type and size category.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://news.sky.com/story/amount-of-plastic-in-the-atlantic-ocean-has-been-massively-underestimated-12051782

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High seas could be protected by 'global treaty'

5 Apr 2019 - At least 30% of international waters could soon form part of a protected global network of marine reserves to help save sea life from extinction.

5 Apr 2019 - Sky News - The high seas are areas of ocean outside national waters that cover more than two-fifths of the surface of the Earth. 

At least 30% of international waters could soon form part of a protected global network of marine reserves to help save sea life from extinction.

Negotiations are ongoing at the United Nations (UN) with a view to introducing such an agreement, which would seek to guarantee the safety of 230 million square kilometres of ocean currently without protection.

Scientists harbour grave concerns about the future of the high seas - areas of ocean outside national waters that cover more than two-fifths of the surface of the Earth.

They are home to an array of species, rivalling the variety found in coastal areas and on land, but are at risk from fishing, deep seabed mining, climate change and plastic pollution.

According to a new report by academics at York and Oxford universities, key to any hope of securing their future could be a new global treaty that paves the way for the protection of waters that do not lie within any borders.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE NOW: https://news.sky.com/story/high-seas-could-be-protected-by-global-treaty-11683256

Photo: Sky News - Coral bleaching climate change

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