Marine plastic pollution: ENV 100 students are asked, “How bad is it?”


In his ENV 100 presentation “Plastic in Our Oceans: How Bad Is It,” microbial ecologist Erik Zettler outlined the realities of marine plastic pollution. Zettler first set out to debunk three pervasive myths regarding plastic and the world’s growing marine “garbage patches”:

MYTH 1: Earth’s oceans are filled with enormous, swirling islands of plastic debris. These garbage patches are visible from space.
REALITY: Marine garbage patches mostly look like pristine ocean – until you drag a net through them. Even then, the majority of the plastic fragments captured are less than 1 cm in size.

MYTH 2: Plastic is everywhere in the ocean.
REALITY: Plastic debris moves with ocean currents and converges in gyres – large systems of rotating currents. These gyres become the locations of garbage patches, such as those found in the Pacific, North Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.

MYTH 3: Plastic does not biodegrade.
REALITY: Plastics do break…

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Published in: on January 6, 2014 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

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