Study: 270,000 tons of plastic floating in oceans

Dec 10, 2014 5:01 PM by News Staff

HONOLULU (AP) - A new study estimates nearly 270,000 tons of plastic is floating in the world's oceans. That's enough to fill more than 38,500 garbage trucks.

The study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE says the plastic is broken up into more than 5 trillion pieces.

Scientists dragged a mesh net at the sea surface to gather small pieces. Observers on boats counted larger items.

Researcher Kara Lavender Law of the Sea Education Association wasn't involved in the study but says it's encouraging that the paper's estimates of tiny plastic pieces is comparable to an earlier study by other researchers using different methodology.

The paper's lead author is Markus Eriksen of the 5 Gyres Institute, an organization that aims to reduce plastic in the oceans.

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