Plastic pollution in the ocean frequently appears as seabird guts filled with cigarette lighters and bottle caps, marine mammals entangled in fishing gear and drifting plastic bags mimicking a gelatinous meal. Last year, a study estimated that around eight million metric tons of our plastic waste enter the oceans from land each year.

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Most of our waste consists of everyday items such as bottles, wrappers, straws or bags. Yet the vast majority of debris found floating far offshore are broken-down fragments smaller than your pinky fingernail, termed microplastic, accounting for about 1% of the plastic waste entering the ocean from land in a single year, estimated at 93,000 to 236,000 metric tons.