Large concentration of microplastic found in the Mediterranean Sea near Italy

Microplastics are tiny, less than five millimeters of plastic that can damage our sea and water lives.Plastic debris may come in all shapes and sizes, including “microplastics,” those which are less than five millimeters (or approximately the size of a sesamic seed).

An study performed by the University of Manchester found a maximum of 1.9 million plastic parts per square meter. The highest amounts of microplastic ever reported in the seabed have been discovered in an international research project, with up to 1.9 million parts in a thin layer of 1 square meter.

Contamination was detected in sediments from the Mediterranean edge, near Italy.

Microplastics come from a number of sources, including larger and smaller plastic waste. Furthermore, microbeads, a type of microplastic, are very small polyethylene plastic pieces that are used in the form of exfoliants for health products and beauty products, for example cleaners and toothpastes. Such small particles move through mechanisms for water filtration and end up on the ocean and in the Great Lakes and pose a possible hazard to marine life.

Up to 1.9 million plastic parts per square meter were identified under the guidance of the University of Manchester.

Such products possibly included clothing fabrics and other synthetic textiles and small pieces from larger objects that had broken down over time.Researchers’ studies lead them to conclude that microplastics (less than 1 mm) are dispersed by strong lower currents in different locations on the ocean floor.

“These currents are producing what are known as drift deposits; think of dunes of underwater sand,” said Dr. Ian Kane, head of the international team.