Distribution of surface plastic debris in the eastern Pacific Ocean from an 11-year dataset

We present an extensive survey of floating plastic debris in the eastern North and South Pacific Oceans from more than 2,500 plankton net tows conducted between 2001 and 2012. From these data we defined an accumulation zone (25 to 41°N, 130 to 180°W) in the North Pacific subtropical gyre that closely corresponds to centers of accumulation resulting from the convergence of ocean surface currents predicted by several oceanographic numerical models. Maximum plastic concentrations from individual surface net tows exceeded 106 pieces km-2, with concentrations decreasing with increasing distance from the predicted center of accumulation. (…)

Kara Lavender Law, Skye Moret-Ferguson, Deborah S. Goodwin, Erik R. Zettler, Emelia DeForce, Tobias Kukulka, and Giora Proskurowski,Environ. Sci. Technol., Vol. 48 (9), p. 4732–4738, 07/04/2014

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