The world’s oceans are littered with trillions of pieces of plastic - bottles, bags, toys, fishing nets and more, mostly in tiny particles - and now this seaborne junk is making its way into the Arctic.
In a study published Wednesday in Science Advances, a group of researchers from the University of Cádiz in Spain and several other institutions show that a major ocean current is carrying bits of plastic, mainly from the North Atlantic, to the Greenland and Barents seas, and leaving them there - in surface waters, in sea ice and possibly on the ocean floor.
Because climate change is already shrinking the Arctic sea ice cover, more human activity in this still-isolated part of the world is increasingly likely as navigation becomes easier. As a result, plastic pollution, which has grown significantly around the world since 1980, could spread more widely in the Arctic in decades to come, the researchers say.
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If humans ever get off this planet, please don't take any plastic with you. This must end!