MONTEREY, Calif. -
There’re not easy to see, but they're there. A new study came out Thursday uncovering just how much microplastics are buried in the Monterey Bay.
Microplastics are small chunks of plastic, usually less than 5 millimeters. Scientists had a hunch that they were there but were surprised to find out how much. ”I honestly thought that plastics were a surface ocean problem,” says Kakani Katija, with MBARI.
As it turns out, the plastic problem is worse than expected. Katija is one of the scientists involved with discovering just how much of those microplastics are in the Monterey Bay. You may actually be surprised to hear it's comparable to the concentration of microplastics on the surface of the Great Pacific Garbage
Patch. Katija says, “You know, not only are there plastics in the environment, but there are animals eating these plastics in the environment.”
The source of the problem is largely due to broken-down pieces of larger plastics that end up in the ocean. What's scarier, is that the team found higher concentrations of microplastics the deeper in the ocean they went.
Scientists are hopeful they can fix this problem, but they say it can only be accomplished if less plastic ends up in the ocean.