A new article in the Guardian examines the plastic in the ocean that we cannot see. Plastic pollution news usually takes the form of toothbrushes and the Great Pacific Garbage patch, but much of the plastic in the ocean is not visible. Because of the size of the plastic, it’s difficult to estimate and know just how much plastic is in the oceans.

The plastic we can see is only .5% of the total plastic, oceanographer Erik Van Sebille told the Guardian. The surface plastic is only part of the plastic pollution problem. Scientists are now studying how much plastic ends up on the ocean floor.

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And scientists are concerned about how plastic breaks down so much it’s almost undetectable. In the Guardian, a biogeochemist, Helge Niemann, called plastic, ” more like a chemical dissolved in the water than floating in it.”

A research paper by Van Sebille and colleagues estimated that 196 million tons of plastic are in the deepest part of the oceans. Scientists continue to study the deep waters and the accumulated plastic.

What is known is that we need to reduce our use of plastics. Read more about plastic on beaches, including the Midway Atoll and on an island in England. There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actionsand switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including, making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads!

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