An international study led by a University of Queensland researcher has revealed more than half the world's sea turtles have ingested plastic or other human rubbish.
The study, led by Dr Qamar Schuyler from UQ's School of Biological Sciences, found the east coasts of Australia and North America, Southeast Asia, southern Africa, and Hawaii were particularly dangerous for turtles due to a combination of debris loads and high species diversity.
"The results indicate that approximately 52 per cent of turtles world-wide have eaten debris," Dr Schuyler said.
Dive Against Debris champion, Rob Thompson, was delighted at the opportunity to discuss the growing problem of plastic in the ocean with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at the Ocean Plastics Awareness Day on July 22.
In full diving gear, members of the Dive Against Debris Volunteers UK group shared their unique views on what lies beneath the waves highlighting what for most people is out of sight, out of mind.
Large quantities of plastic debris are building up in the Mediterranean Sea, say scientists. A survey found around one thousand tonnes of plastic floating on the surface, mainly fragments of bottles, bags and wrappings.
The Mediterranean Sea's biological richness and economic importance means plastic pollution is particularly hazardous, say Spanish researchers.
Plastic has been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, turtles and whales.
A landmark study, published in the journal Science on Thursday 13 February, reveals just how much plastic makes its way in the world's oceans and the top countries responsible for the ocean-bound trash.
It is no secret that the world’s oceans are swimming with plastic debris – the first floating masses of trash were discovered in the 1990s. But researchers are starting to get a better sense of the size and scope of the problem.
A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One estimates that 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic, large and small, weighing 269,000 tons, can be found throughout the world’s oceans, even in the most remote reaches.
Less than half of the 280 million metric tons of plastic produced each year ends up in the landfill. A fair bit of the rest ends up littering the landscape, blown by the wind or washed down streams and rivers into the sea.
So far Americans spend $520 million a year to clean up plastic litter washing up on beaches and shorelines. Efforts to clean up the oceans' enormous swirling gyres of garbage has an incalculable cost. Thus, much of the focus has been on how to stop the river of trash from entering the ocean.
Recent research reveals that even remote areas of the oceans are affected by increasing levels of plastic waste on the seafloor. The study found that quantities of litter from human activities, mostly plastic, on the seabed of an isolated Arctic site, doubled from 2002 to 2011.
Around 60% of the Earth’s surface is covered by the seafloor, yet very little is known about how pollution has affected the deep ocean, in particular, remote areas such as the Arctic.