'Plastic Sea' Found North of Caribbean

Atlantic plastic patch threatening food chain
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2010 6:10 AM CST
An area north of the Caribbean sea has collected huge amounts of plastic debris carried there from around the world by ocean currents.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Researchers trying to determine just how much plastic trash is building up in the world's oceans have found a large concentration just north of the Caribbean. The study—based on more than 22,000 plastic fragments collected over the years—found that a huge area between 22 and 38 degrees north latitude is accumulating trash delivered by ocean currents in the same way as the huge plastic patch in the Pacific, the AP reports.

A single tow of a net in both the Atlantic and Pacific gyres collected more than 1,000 pieces of plastic, researchers say. Scientists say the concentration of plastic is more like a plastic soup than a collection of solid chunks of plastic, making it impossible to clean up. They warn that plastic is making its way into the food chain as it degrades into particles, and believe a rethink of society's use of plastics could be the only solution.

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