Wednesday, June 28, 2017 | Updated at 9:58 AM ET

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Arctic Ocean Fast Becoming The World’s Dumpsite For Plastic Junk; Proper Plastic Waste Management From Sources Is The Key

First Posted: Apr 21, 2017 11:37 AM EDT
NASA Continues Efforts To Monitor Arctic Ice Loss With Research Flights Over Greenland and Canada

Photo : Getty Images/Mario Tama

Arctic Ocean waters have tiny bits of plastic mostly remnants of plastic containers, toys, fishing lines and plastic bottles. This was discovered recently by scientists from the research vessel Tara which has circumnavigated the pole in 2013. Experts say that it's impossible to retrieve all the plastic trash from the ocean and the best course of action is to employ proper waste management from the source.

The Arctic Ocean is literally clogging with tiny bits of plastic, The Atlantic reported. Contrary to what oceanographers thought about the Arctic being so remote from human activity and that environmental pollution is far from happening in the region, it is now filled with about 300 billion pieces of floating plastic. Researchers believe that these bits may have been carried to the Arctic over decades and because there are only a few waterways out of the ocean, these plastic remnants are now stuck.

The Arctic Ocean is now the dead end to most of the world's plastic carried by ocean currents. Researchers have to find out how the plastic entered the Arctic and if these currents can still help drive the remnants out. Some scientists are also looking for a solution to fix the problem and possibly managing plastic waste from its source. Plastic pollution may even need international agreements, New York Times reported.

The plastic found in the Arctic Ocean were mostly fragments ranging from 0.5 to 12.6 millimeters. There were also remnants of fishing lines, plastic films and pellets which could mean that this trash could be from subtropical areas where there are high concentrations of fishing equipment.

There were no large pieces of plastics found. They found a few bits of film which broke down quickly. These could suggest that the plastic pieces may have been floating in the ocean for quite some time. People living along the arctic coastline may have also contributed to the floating trash while it is unlikely that passing shipping lines may have added to the trash since shipping activities here are very infrequent in this part of the planet.

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