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Arctic plastic debris doubled in past 10 years

 
 
 
 
 
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The traffic of commercial, private and fishing ships has increased enormously since the ice cover has been getting thinner.

A recent study has revealed that the amount of plastic debris and litter piled up on the Arctic Ocean’s seabed has doubled in the past ten years.

German researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research studied more than 2,000 photographs of the Arctic Ocean’s seabed taken from 2002 to 2011.

“Waste can be seen in around 1 percent of the images from 2002, primarily plastic. In the images from 2011 we made the same discovery on around 2 percent of the footage. The quantity of waste on the sea bed has therefore doubled,” lead author Melanie Bergmann said.

She added that the results of the study have surprised the scientists as “the Arctic Ocean and especially its deep-sea areas have long been considered to be the most remote and secluded regions of our planet.”

Researchers believe that shrinking of the Arctic sea ice could play an important role in the increasing level of the pollution as the traffic of commercial, private and fishing ships has increased enormously since the ice cover has been getting thinner.

Scientists have warned that the deep-sea plastic pollution can affect a series of food chain and also result in the formation of micro-plastic particles.

The accumulation of micro-plastic particles can lead to the formation of several poisonous substances such as the DDT which is used as a pesticide.

“Almost 70 percent of the plastic litter that we recorded had come into some kind of contact with deep-sea organisms,” Bergmann noted.

The results of the study have been published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.

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