More than 5 trillion plastic pieces afloat at sea

In a 2014 study, it was estimated that AT LEAST 5.25 TRILLION PLASTIC PIECES, WEIGHING 269,000 METRIC TONS ARE CURRENTLY FLOATING AT SEA and that:

  • 92% is comprised of small fragments (0.33-4.75 mm).
  • Of larger items (>200mm), foamed polystyrene items were the most frequently observed.
  • During fragmentation plastics are lost from the sea surface.

This does not include the massive amount of plastic that sinks (extremely difficult to determine because of the huge depths of the ocean), washes up on beaches and seashores, or has been ingested by organisms.

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