Plastic debris is accumulating in the Mediterranean Sea on a similar scale to what’s found in oceanic gyres—the five, massive, circular currents found in the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans, BBC News reports. In the study, published yesterday in PLOS ONE, scientists used nets to collect the rubbish, and found that more than 80% of what was tangled in their mesh were microplastics, less than 5 mm in length. That’s a problem, scientists say, because fish and other animals can easily eat the tiny pieces—and the chemicals they’re formed from. Although the Mediterranean Sea makes up less than 1% of global ocean area, between 4% and 18% of all marine species inhabit its waters, which are also vital to regional tourism and fishing industries.
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