The shocking level of plastic that resides in the ocean has been laid bare by a study carried out by Volvo Ocean Race, which found microplastic in almost every water sample it collected.
As many as 349 particles of microplastics per cubic metre were found in a sample collected in the South China Sea, while 307 particles per cubic metre were collected where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Indeed, of the 68 samples collected over the course of the race – from departing Alicante in October 2017, to its complete global circumnavigation to Cardiff in May 2018 – only two samples contained no microplastics, a sample collected off the south coast of Australia and one from the east coast of Argentina.
The most recent sample taken, off the US coast of Newport, Rhode Island, 75 particles of microplastics were found per cubic metre.
Even a sample collected close to the waters of uninhabited Antarctica found microplastics were as high as 25 particles per cubic metre.
Microplastic samples have been analysed by members of the Volvo Ocean Race’s scientific consortium in Germany. Those findings will now be presented at the Volvo Ocean Race Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, by Dr Toste Tanhua, of GEOMAR Institute for Ocean Research, today.
“Thanks to the great cooperation of the Volvo Ocean Race and the teams on the water, we have been able to collect a very valuable and unique data set during the race which we have been able to share with the wider scientific community,” said Dr Tanhua.