The overwhelming majority of the 8 million tons’ worth of plastics that annually fill the world’s oceans can’t even be measured by scientists.

Erik Van Sebille, an oceanographer at Utrecht University, recently told The Guardian that all that plastic that can be seen on the surface of the ocean is “maybe a half of 1% of the total” that’s actually there.

Another scientist, biochemist Helge Niemann with the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, theorizes that plastic could break down into pieces so small that make it hard to actually find, becoming “more like a chemical dissolved in the water than floating in it.”

Separately, a team of scientists has found that plastic is just as prevalent — and abundant — in the deep waters off Monterey, California as it is in those surface-layer “garbage patches.”

Check out the full story at The Guardian.

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