Scientists Estimate the Amount of Plastic Floating in the World's Oceans

On December 10th, researchers released an important paper in the journal PLOS One on the quantity of plastic debris in the marine environment. Lead scientist Markus Eriksen co-founded the global nonprofit research group, 5 Gyres Institute, whose collective of data and marine researchers from around the world combined to produce this major study

The main points: they estimate a minimum of 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons floating on the surface of the world’s oceans.

Dr. Eriksen explains the amount of plastic debris estimated as similar to "38,000 African Elephants or stacking 2-liter water bottles from here to the moon and back, twice. Or like laying straws along the equator, end to end, 425 times."

The researchers also released this short video to highlight main points in the paper.

Plastic Pollution in the World's Oceans from Chris Jones on Vimeo.

If you're interested in diving a little more in-depth, The New York Times and the Washington Post compiled write-ups with additional detail. Here is the paper in full and if you want to support the efforts of 5 Gyres you can purchase a  "Less Plastic, More Ocean" T-shirt here.

UPDATE: Here is a clip from NBC Nightly News on plastic pollution following the paper's release:

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