ASC volunteers are going deep to learn more about the scope of aquatic microplastic pollution—literally. The divers of National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala's Pristine Seas team work to find, survey and protect the last wild places in the ocean, and for the last year they've been gathering samples for the ASC Global Microplastics Initiative from beneath the ocean surface.
In late 2014, ASC partnered with the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, a fleet of sailboats that makes an annual crossing of the Atlantic. In total, 93 of the 251 boats gathered water samples for the ASC Global Microplastics Initiative, contributing 521 samples to ASC’s dataset and covering an estimated 602,000-square-nautical mile area.
The sources of microplastics pollution include microbeads manufactured for many face washes and toothpastes, particles weathered from larger debris like bottles and bags, and microfibers shed down the drain when synthetic clothing is washed.
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