Every year, about 300 million metric tons of plastic are produced, and great part of it is scattered in the environment and in particular in the oceans. The oceans are dominated by currents and patterns of water circulation. The currents drive together marine life and nutrients. But with human interference, they are also a cause for alarm as they assist in the accumulation of marine debris and garbage as well. Gyres, for example, form when ocean currents create a circular pattern of water movement, allowing things to congregate in the middle.
There are 5 of microplastic islands distributed in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Studies show that there should be a 6th one in the Arctic, a gateway for microplastics situated near the Beaufort Gyre, a wind-driven ocean current located in the Arctic Ocean region, and in the Iceland Sea, where the East Icelandic current makes a loop near a known downwelling. But numerical observations have to be validated by real data.
Polarquest2018 carried out microplastics sampling for data analysis that are currently being analysed by our expert Stefano Aliani and his team. The aim of the expedition was also to raise awareness about the large amount of disposable plastic we use every day to lead people to have a more conscious behaviour and reduce single-use plastic.