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Enter The Plastisphere

In this April 18, 2011 photo, a plastic container litters the beach in Sandy Hook, N.J. Clean Ocean Action, the environmental group that has been doing beach sweeps for 25 years, says in a report to be released Tuesday, April 19, 2011 that an all-time high of 475,321 pieces of litter were removed from the state's 127-mile shoreline last year. The 8,372 people who participated in spring and fall cleanups also set a record. (AP)

In this April 18, 2011 photo, a plastic container litters the beach in Sandy Hook, N.J. Clean Ocean Action, the environmental group that has been doing beach sweeps for 25 years, says in a report to be released Tuesday, April 19, 2011 that an all-time high of 475,321 pieces of litter were removed from the state’s 127-mile shoreline last year. The 8,372 people who participated in spring and fall cleanups also set a record. (AP)

4.7 million tons. That’s how much plastic gets dumped into the ocean annually. For decades, we’ve heard about the harm plastic can cause to marine ecosystems. But, a team of Massachusetts scientists have made a remarkable finding about those countless confetti-sized bits of plastic…they’re home to thriving microbial ecosystems, living, reproducing, happily getting on with their bacterial business. An entire world, they’ve dubbed, “the plastisphere”.

Guests

Tracy Mincer, associate scientist of marine chemistry and geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.


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