Startling Images of the Tons of Trash in the World's Oceans

More than 5 trillion plastic bits floating in the seas, according to study.

ByRheana Murray
December 11, 2014, 12:38 PM

— -- Nearly 270,000 tons of plastic are floating in the world's oceans, according to a new study.

That's divided into at least 5.25 trillion plastic pieces, researchers wrote. Or, enough to fill more than 38,500 garbage trucks, the Associated Press reported.

"Plastics of all sizes were found in all ocean regions," said the report, published on Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

PHOTO: Plastic bags and other rubbish are collected from the waters and shoreline of Manila Bay during a campaign by environmental activists and volunteers calling for a ban of the use of plastic bags, July 3, 2014
Plastic bags and other rubbish are collected from the waters and shoreline of Manila Bay during a campaign by environmental activists and volunteers calling for a ban of the use of plastic bags, July 3, 2014
AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: Juvenile Herring Gull with plastic rubbish in its beak, Newquay, Cornwall, England.
Juvenile Herring Gull with plastic rubbish in its beak, Newquay, Cornwall, England.
UIG via Getty Images

Researchers only measured plastic floating at the surface of the oceans, and not at the ocean floor, and the study doesn't take into consideration any of the other trash polluting the seas.

The study used a mix of methods to come to its conclusions. Scientists visited 1,571 points in the ocean to count plastic debris. They used mesh nets to gather small bits of plastic, counted larger items from boats, and used technology to calculate plastic collected in parts of the ocean they didn't survey.

PHOTO: A small island formed by the accumulation of trash is pictured in Tanjung Burung, on the coast of Indonesia's Banten province June 5, 2013.
A small island formed by the accumulation of trash is pictured in Tanjung Burung, on the coast of Indonesia's Banten province June 5, 2013.
REUTERS

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