delware environmental institute

Plastic pollution: Wind pushes plastics deeper into oceans, driving trash estimates up

Plastic pollution:  Wind pushes plastics deeper into oceans, driving trash estimates up

Decades of research into how much plastic litters the sea may have only skimmed the surface. A new study reveals that wind drives confetti-sized pieces of plastic debris deeper underwater than previously believed, more than doubling earlier estimates of the pollutant’s presence in oceans.

“In windy conditions the traditional approach to measuring plastic marine debris captures only a small fraction of plastic pieces,” said Tobias Kukulka, assistant professor of physical ocean science and engineering in the University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. “Our study helps to better understand how much plastic there is and where, as well as the complexity of the ocean dynamics at work.”