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Toxic soup

August 24, 2010

A short follow-up on the plastic gyres in the oceans posted on earlier. Researchers have now found a similar gyre in the Baltic Sea, HBL reports. Although a lot smaller than those in the Pacific and the Atlantic, it shows how plastic and chemical concentrate in patches in our oceans. Researchers have also discovered that although the amount of plastic being dumped in the oceans every year is increasing, the gyres don’t grow. This means that the plastic particles end up in other places. It seems the decomposition of plastic is quicker than previously thought and that the tiny particles can accumulate toxins. The fate of these particles is still unknown and in Japan researchers have asked the public for help. 98% of the birds in the Procellariidae family (petrels, shearwaters, albatrosses) have been found that have plastic in their stomachs and as a lot of fish also ingest the particles it’s not unreasonable to assume that the toxins find their way onto our dinner plates. Bon appétit!

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