- Floating plastics in oceans: A matter of size doi link

Auteur(s): George M., Fabre P.

(Article) Publié: Green Chemistry, vol. 32 p.100543 (2021)

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DOI: 10.1016/j.cogsc.2021.100543
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The amount and characteristics of plastic waste in the environment are closely monitored with the regular expansion of their collection to smaller debris sizes and new compartments, such as atmosphere, soil and even food. These data, subject to constant re-evaluation, are necessary to assess the threat that plastic particles pose. In this article, we take stock of the most recent measurements of their size distribution on the ocean surface. We confront the observed size distribution to the commonly invoked degradation modes of plastics and propose a scenario that accounts for the quite unusual features of the size distribution of floating debris. We conclude that delamination alone could be a major mechanism explaining the large number of small microplastics (<150 μm) in the ocean.