Why 99% of ocean plastic pollution is "missing"

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The plastic we dump into the ocean might be hiding in plain sight.

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For the past several years scientists have been trying to account for the 8 million metric tonnes of plastic that we dump into the ocean each year. The assumption was that a large portion of it was floating out in one of the large garbage patches, where swirling debris accumulates thanks to ocean gyres. But recent measurements of the amount of trash in the patches fell far short of what’s thought to be out there.

Scientists are getting closer to an answer, which could help clean-up efforts and prevent further damage to marine life and ocean ecosystems.

In a previous version of this video, we mistakenly compared the size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the area of Australia. It is in fact roughly 1.6 million square kilometers, a little more than twice the size of the state of Texas. A huge area, but not nearly as big as Australia. Source: www.nature.com/articles/s4159...

For anyone interested in participating in the Ocean Conservancy's annual beach clean-up events, here is the link with information:

For more reading, check out this New Yorker article on the missing plastic problem, which inspired this video:

Laurent Lebreton’s research that estimates the amount of debris in the garbage patches is here:

For more about Ocean Conservancy’s work, and their annual international beach cleanup events:

For more reading about Erik Van Sebille’s work:

For more reading about Melanie Bergmann’s work:

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owl 12 घंटे पहले
how does so much of food wrapping and plastic cu ps and plates end up in the ocen, when garbage is supposed to go into landfills?
दिन पहले
Why aren't prisoners who done petty crimes do beach clean up as ways to reduce their sentence especially young offenders .. !?
KetchupPannkaka 2 दिन पहले
Well where can I find pictures or videos of this?
john korepta
john korepta 2 दिन पहले
People are piggish
john korepta
john korepta 2 दिन पहले
Never give Western convenience to the third world they just throw it in the ocean... No recycling no burying
Mochi Gaming
Mochi Gaming 2 दिन पहले
I heard that even at Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the Mariana Trench, there was a plastic bag floating there.
Don S
Don S 3 दिन पहले
What would be nice is if you people who do these videos would say where they photos have been taking of these large areas of plastic on the shore line are at. I haven't seen a beach front in the US look any where like that since the 70's. Oh and lets do sediment sampling near a busy port well duh course you are going to find plastic in the sediment. Funny how all the worlds protesters for a greener earth come here to the States to protest but they don't go where the real issue are.. oh yeah thats right. Because you will get yourself arrested and maybe never see day light again..
Weltraum Affe
Weltraum Affe 5 दिन पहले
It's pretty!
aditya 5 दिन पहले
2:19 Laurent Lebreton : 'Thats the legacy of our generation'' Man that hit hard and he is 100% right. Corporations would run out of money without plastic. Also the rich politicians who have their cut in this as well. Individuals and citizens can make an impact only upto some extent, but the evil corps need to be stopped first.
Aidan Butler
Aidan Butler 5 दिन पहले
Someone needs to ask china where this patch came from
Jeffrey Culpepper
Jeffrey Culpepper 6 दिन पहले
So why is all the plastic ending up in the Oceans? Isn't being recycled?
Arif Firoz
Arif Firoz 6 दिन पहले
It is horrible
Prince 7 दिन पहले
Using plastic bags to pick up plastic debris is such a dilemma!
Edgaras V
Edgaras V 7 दिन पहले
So, what is your solution? Instead of plastic what you will offer? It's easy to speak about problems and do nothing. Todays very popular job-finger job. You move your finger around, pointing to surroundings
Nachural Bonhilbily
Nachural Bonhilbily 8 दिन पहले
I have been to many remote beaches in central and south america and they are entirely covered with garbage. One beach was completely covered with tennis shoes as if a whole freighter full of them sank.
kabdoun 8 दिन पहले
Watching what archeologists will discover thousands of years later in "real" time
AWcinema AWcinema
AWcinema AWcinema 9 दिन पहले
The most dangerous virus on this planet is mankind
art by gav 🐉
art by gav 🐉 9 दिन पहले
what we start dumping plastics into volcanoes?
Cam B
Cam B 9 दिन पहले
Stop buying water
Toga the girl Who flips
Toga the girl Who flips 9 दिन पहले
By linking plastics in the ocean to everyone’s guts and u will see greater action
truemisto 10 दिन पहले
the best way to address plastic is regulating it at point of production. people made do without plastics at all for millennia, we can make do with fewer plastics in out lives too, too bad capitalists have purchased the loyalty of politicians
Darin McRitchie
Darin McRitchie 10 दिन पहले
So whos dumping garbage in the ocean???
Veronica Duke
Veronica Duke 11 दिन पहले
When we clean up the plastic off beaches where does it go? How do we make sure it doesn’t end up back in the ocean?
Aryanna Carli
Aryanna Carli 11 दिन पहले
The safe hardcover lately frighten because pajama nouzilly scribble besides a calm bubble. daffy, acid step-grandfather
Sean Cooper
Sean Cooper 11 दिन पहले
Several science teams are developing a bacteria and other ways . That will eat most plastics. More money needs to be invested into more projects to clean up these materials.
Greg 11 दिन पहले
The answer is not to use glass, or use aluminum. Plastic is made by refined oil. Effectively it is long chains of hydrocarbons. The solution is to incinerate it to generate electricity. Even dumping it in a landfill is useful because with some enzymes you can get a significant production of natural gas out of the decomposing organic matter. The solution is to STOP RECYCLING. Recycling lead to tons of stuff being dumped Because it is not in a useable state. What a waste get him to spend hours separating recycling it Instead spend that time walking the beach and picking it up
Hugh Moore
Hugh Moore 11 दिन पहले
Maybe law enforcement should get involved . . . After all . . . it is illegal ! ! !
Christine Famiglietti
Christine Famiglietti 12 दिन पहले
Inside fish..and never ever ever use sea salt
Jaime Jasso
Jaime Jasso 12 दिन पहले
Why is it than the original producers the PLASTIC INDUSTRY like DUPONT and MANY OF the companies who get millions and or billions of dollars on profit from its creation are not summoned to cover for the clean up all together with the distributors of such products Like COCA-COLA PEPSICO NESTLE etc., etc.,, and get a tax for the OCEANS CLEAN UP WORLD WIDE
TYRONE ROWE SR 12 दिन पहले
TYRONE ROWE SR 12 दिन पहले
Keith Lynch
Keith Lynch 12 दिन पहले
What's the problem? As global birthrates continue to reduce, the global population will reduce. After 2050, the global population is predicted to shrink dramatically. The future global population to achieve Kardashev level one is only 500 million citizens living in a one world government, authoritarian government.
Joseph Moilliet
Joseph Moilliet 12 दिन पहले
Don't worry, God will soon purge the earth with fire and all the plastics on earth will vaporize. It's the only solution right!
PrAlbert Johnson
PrAlbert Johnson 12 दिन पहले
This video proves democrats only care about taxing us and don't care about things that don't put money in their pokets.
Berry 13 दिन पहले
when the world runs out of oil we can mine the oceans for that plastic to make new products, problem solved
old cali r.e. broker
old cali r.e. broker 13 दिन पहले
So is New York still dumping trash offshore carried out by barges???? They sure used to.
Sinan Bozkurt
Sinan Bozkurt 13 दिन पहले
Michael Flaugher
Michael Flaugher 13 दिन पहले
Consumer products should be required by law to only be packaged in biodegradable material that only lasts 2-3 years beyond the shelf life of the contained product. If my milk will only last 1 month, there is no need for the plastic milk jug to last 100 years.
Eustacio Griego
Eustacio Griego 13 दिन पहले
Nature can be wonderful if we treated fair. Stop consumption ,Stop spending money.
Nick Braun
Nick Braun 13 दिन पहले
plastics make it possible...
mississippispider 13 दिन पहले
Since margarine is only one chemical away from being plastic, just gather it all up and remove that chemical. WALLAH, problem solved and everybody can buy cheap butter.
bobbg 14 दिन पहले
Need to make plastic eating sharks. Ok at first this was a joke, but really if we can make a systhic microbes that consume plastics and convert them into something that's not going to bother anything else or somthing to collect this waste. But better yet filter rivers so they dont discharge this waste into the ocean. If think fish eat vented gases from underwater volcanos why can't they eat plastics too.
fett4life 14 दिन पहले
Hey! Everybody! Any time you go to the beach, spend five minutes on getting lit...er, picking up litter. YOU 😎 can make a difference
Jeffrey Beauregard
Jeffrey Beauregard 14 दिन पहले
Save the environment, Don't use condoms pull out.
Cristina Saralegui
Cristina Saralegui 14 दिन पहले
Send it to outer space, far away! Hire Elon Musk! And don’t make any more plastic, produce something bio degradable...
StandsWithABeer 14 दिन पहले
...some of the world's richest men & women, instead of running to play in outer space, should be helping to clean up inner space.
mike patterson
mike patterson 14 दिन पहले
Cannabis Can Be Used For Most Things We Use Plastic For. But It Is Biodegradable. Plus Would Save Millions Of Trees ! Peace/;-)) Tax Plastic Out Of Existence /;-))
RidgeRunner 14 दिन पहले
The Democraps stole it and took it to downtown Portland !
Duane Linstrom
Duane Linstrom 14 दिन पहले
Pick up plastic pollution and do what with it? Put it in a plastic bag? Then what? Recycle it? How? Where?
Ding Dong
Ding Dong 14 दिन पहले
Ban the plastic bottles and bags Use glass and paper
F-ing Houdini's road
F-ing Houdini's road 14 दिन पहले
Any company that produceses plastic should be responsible for recycling it like Germany and Switzerland
Wenit Bewood
Wenit Bewood 15 दिन पहले
What happens to garbage pickup on shores? Dumped in a land fill? Dumped back out into ocean?
transce080 15 दिन पहले
This is easy folks. The plastic industry has made trillions by intentionally lying about recycling and the effects of plastic pollution, it's time they start to pay for it. Every plastic product should come with an extra tax whose money is used for the cleanup of plastic-based pollution like the garbage patch. The amount of the tax should scale with how long the product is used for and how hard the product is to recycle, with one-time use plastic products receiving the highest tax rate. In addition, let's curb the "recycling lie" by making it so they can't add a recycling icon to a plastic container unless they can prove that 100% of that container actually will be recycled (not just that it can be recycled). If you made a product that made people sick, you would have to pay to help them, so why is it if you make a product that makes the ecosystem sick, you get away with it? It's time to hold the plastics industry responsible.
Kenneth Spears
Kenneth Spears 15 दिन पहले
The hot huge comparison occasionally paste because epoch ultrascructurally owe till a snobbish typhoon. daffy, shiny whiskey
S S 16 दिन पहले
Maybe you could use an accurate map.
Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith 16 दिन पहले
i like your plastic sunglasses
Loagun 16 दिन पहले
Well if glass which doesn't float washes up on shore (shore glass/sea glass) than i imagine the stuff that floats also washes ashore. You think?
luciferangelica 16 दिन पहले
why isn't there any sediment from before 1870?
Kytrama 16 दिन पहले
bungkus plastik indomie 🥲
James Hines
James Hines 16 दिन पहले
My idea for keeping plastic off the ocean floor. Is to have all manufacturers of plastics to make all plastics float by creating micro air bubbles in then so it would be easier to gather on the surface and shores. (Or we can keep doing it the hard way!)
ARMADILLO 17 दिन पहले
the largest garbage patch is Washington DC
ENI SEN 17 दिन पहले
all the country - put wast in ocean - why not in deseart - sun heaat can break dow plastics , and not let pollution , germs to multiply
Lavender Dyad Moon
Lavender Dyad Moon 18 दिन पहले
I guess we humans have left our mark on this planet one way or the other. If we all disappeared and all of our buildings and technology broke down and disintegrated into nothing, there would still be plastics buried at the bottom of the ocean. smh
Joel Blunt
Joel Blunt 18 दिन पहले
Made in 1971, there's no way to know when the crate ended its useful life, or when it entered the ocean (1971 or 2021). Stop making one-use plastics (water/soda bottles, shopping bags, etc.) or plastic pollution will continue to grow exponentially.
joel jelliff
joel jelliff 18 दिन पहले
It is possible to stop manufacturing plastics completely. We could live without it.
Jaime C
Jaime C 18 दिन पहले
Nice use of plastics bags to clean plastic.... "hey look its a plastic bag full of plastic"...."best put that in my plastic bag"
Trailblazer 18 दिन पहले
We need to ban plastic production at this point. Every single-use item these massive corporations pump into society needs to be biodegradable by law. No one has time to consistently pick up trash. You have to stop the problem at its source.
Super Nova
Super Nova 18 दिन पहले
I HATE PLASTIC !!!! I'm not going to use plastic anymore...I AM GOING MAKE A SIGN WITH MY 3D PRINTER IN RED...I HATE PLASTIC !!!
Ober 18 दिन पहले
It's already a problem in the civilized countries, as long as not perfect the system is limiting the plastic pollution...you can only imagine the damages that countries as India for example, are going to make.
symbolsandsystems 19 दिन पहले
maybe it would help if there was a law mandating all public beaches to have dumpsters and free plastic trash bags available to any would be humans. Question: what is the quality which most defines humanity? Answer: self-control. What is the first and ultimate act of self-control? Keeping yourself clean.
Dallas Weaver
Dallas Weaver 19 दिन पहले
They are now finding that plastic gets small enough for bacteria to eat it and it goes away.
LetzBeaFranque 19 दिन पहले
My theory is that part of the problem is China is dumping the recycling they pickup from the states beyond the 200 mile limit.
Angelica Luna
Angelica Luna 19 दिन पहले
•Reduce your use of plastic •Bring your own grocery bags •Bring your own sustainable straw & silverware •Get a hydroflask 💧 •Recycle properly ♻️ •Be conscious of the companies & industries you support •Write to companies/be vocal about changes you want to see. •Spread the word 🗣
Carl Jensen
Carl Jensen 19 दिन पहले
I want to know who is responsible for the gazillion tons dumped into the ocean? I suspect that the main culprits are corporations.
M LKER 20 दिन पहले
Who is using the Ocean as a dump? Is it really that hard to figure this out?
julesontherocks 20 दिन पहले
Aliens helping us out and eradicating the plastic patches - respect 🖖
T-Bear 20 दिन पहले
most the plastic comes from fishing!!
Playing Poodle
Playing Poodle 20 दिन पहले
i have got into lots of pain from this
Geoffrey Yoste
Geoffrey Yoste 20 दिन पहले
Apple and Google want to go green to help the environment. I swear it’s not so they could be more efficient and make more money. I love reading all the back-and-forth between Republican and Democrats on these type of post. If you have A problem with plastics then don’t use them or recycle them.
maria g
maria g 20 दिन पहले
I thought that studies done in the Arctic already confirmed long ago that climate change is CYCLICAL. Why the continued false narrative?
A Camel Who likes Coke
A Camel Who likes Coke 18 दिन पहले
This is about plastic not climate change ( and yea I’m with you that stuff is natural, but the stuff we use that accelerates it has other issues)
Gozerthegozarian1984 20 दिन पहले
Is there any way to actually recycle plastics? That is to break it down into inert/harmless particles. I've heard no plastic is actually recycled. Its shipped to third world countries or burned.
Kuranghi 10 दिन पहले
Its already inert and harmless, why do you think we store our food in it? Its not an ideal state of affairs obviously but notice how they never tell you whether the "microplastics" inside the sea creatures actually does them any harm outside of how obstruction swallowed could harm us or them. To answer your question, no but we can recycle some of them by remolding but it can't be used for food again.
James Liu
James Liu 20 दिन पहले
This is so depressing to watch
Bill Boyd
Bill Boyd 21 दिन पहले
As long as everyone else does their part
Gabriel Morales Gonzalez
Gabriel Morales Gonzalez 16 दिन पहले
I thought you were Billy Boyd for a moment, the actor who plays Pippin from the Lord of the Rings.
Nikolei Graham
Nikolei Graham 21 दिन पहले
I honestly try as hard as I can not to buy anything plastic or wrapped with plastic, but its almost impossible. Just go to the supermarket and everything is literally wrapped in plastic. Law makers move heaven and earth to restrict people's freedom and movement and ban cars left and right, however, when its comes to other environmental disasters like plastic pollution, there are literally now laws or regulations. This just shows that the war on the car is about restricting freedoms and controlling people's movements.
Robbert van Herksen
Robbert van Herksen 21 दिन पहले
@ 5:22 “The plastic we find in subtropical oceans may actually be there for decades, if not centuries!” Centuries????? Plastic was invented around 1945. It’s now the year of the Lord 2021. Centuries old plastic?? Gimme a break people….
Randy Nelson
Randy Nelson 21 दिन पहले
Maybe because it wasn't there. Maybe the whole thing has been exaggerated to some extent.
Sponge Knock
Sponge Knock 21 दिन पहले
Plastic if recycled, still plastic...we should throw them in outerspace
Akine Main UnanGugel
Akine Main UnanGugel 21 दिन पहले
i want to see that simulation ... >Ä
lannadelarosa 21 दिन पहले
Plastic producers should be taxed for the cleanup.
Wayne Smith
Wayne Smith 21 दिन पहले
They aren't the ones throwing their plastic on the ground or in the water when they are done consuming what is inside the plastic.
Maron Poon
Maron Poon 21 दिन पहले
The unequal grasshopper epidemiologically stamp because tax compatibly excite onto a damaging level. annoyed, pushy fly
Cody 21 दिन पहले
From the dirt we came to the dirt will go
Obsid_Ian 21 दिन पहले
The irony of cleaning up plastic from beaches and putting it into plastic bags
Ranjit Tyagi
Ranjit Tyagi 20 दिन पहले
Ari Lehtiniemi
Ari Lehtiniemi 22 दिन पहले
So... 1) Climate change 2) Plastics (and other pollution) 3) Loss of habitat 4) Overpopulation 5) Pandemics 6) Resistent bacteria 7) End of oil. 1-3 affect the entire planet and every living organism (plants and animals) on it, causing damage to the ecosystem and causing mass extinctions. All this has been "achieved" by the industrial and agricultual revolution in less than 100 years. 5-7 affect mostly just humanity. Each and every one a ginormous problem on their own. All coming at the same time. Sorry kids, we (people born during last 100 years) have destroyed the planet. I doubt there is much you can (or will) do about it anymore. Too late. "We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking we used when we created them." Albert Einstein
Randolf Aquino
Randolf Aquino 22 दिन पहले
if you drink from a bottled water you are also part.of it
Maron Poon
Maron Poon 22 दिन पहले
The ashamed freighter promisingly yell because purpose enthrallingly groan amongst a holistic astronomy. swift, dynamic llama
MKM 22 दिन पहले
They should take a sample off of India, I saw a video on INcds where in India the dump trucks back up to a bridge and dump all the garbage that’s collected right into the water and they do this every day 365 days a year because they don’t have the means or money to recycle.
On Amission2
On Amission2 22 दिन पहले
Population is not Climate Change please educate yourself ( yes we live on a climate changing Planet) and humans have not Impacted on the Climate Unless you talking about the global population ? And we are the main parasites on the world Yes we are cause of the Environmental population (waste ) 80% or products are made from oil production including clothes, and packaging. We need to go back to Glass bottles ( which are 100% recyclable ) Stop using one time Plastics like coffee cups and shopping bags. Waste population is humans greatest issue.
Randall Watts
Randall Watts 22 दिन पहले
Everything in on or about the planet is a natural thing. Granted much of it from a snakes poison to volcanic gases and other stuff is harmful to organic life. You cant make something from nothing. and you cant make something into nothing. So no matter what mans activities do not add or subtract any tangible natural thing period. Nada Ziltch Zero man cant create any tangible thing extra or reduce any tangible thing. Its always Even Steven. The earth eventually recycles everything. Eventually any natural things man combines in a so called unatural manner. The planet can break them down and restore them to their natural original form. Humans think and react to short term agendas. The planet was around billions of years before humans and has all the time in the world to recycle mans puny efforts. Its not pollution its sequestered natural things.
FeelGoodVibes - Jump Up/dnb
FeelGoodVibes - Jump Up/dnb 23 दिन पहले
Nearly 50% of plastic pollution comes from fishing industry. It's not the bottle or straw producers you're looking for. It's fishing industry. Watch "Seaspiracy" on Netflix!
Bill Feld
Bill Feld 24 दिन पहले
Don't blame me ,I live inland blame big business who dumped it for decades. Recycling was a joke.
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