As far back as 1870, i.e., about 150 years ago, Jules Verne described the accumulation of debris in the convergence zone of the North Atlantic Ocean in his famous novel entitled “Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.” Many scientific reports have addressed this topic since and our main concern today is the ever increasing volume of marine litter invading the oceans in various and complex ways. One of the current main challenges is assessing the final destination of this litter. To date, its adverse effects on marine life have only occasionally been investigated and many questions remain unanswered. In addition to efforts to monitor and reduce litter, recent literature has underlined the scientific community’s focus on specific issues such as (i) the evaluation of sources and inputs, (ii) transport and distribution at sea, (iii) the transport of litter and, in particular, plastics within the food web, and (iv) the types of chemicals and organisms likely to sorb or settle on debris and how they can be rafted over long distances. It is important to address these questions in a more detailed manner.
F. Galgani, Frontiers in Marine Science, 5 pages, October 2015