Article in peer-reviewed journal
May 2020, Journal of Hazardous Materials

Matthias Egger, Fatimah Sulu-Gambari and Laurent Lebreton

  • Publication type: Article in peer-reviewed journal
  • Publication journal: Scientific Reports
  • Collaborators: The Ocean Cleanup
  • Publication date: 06.05.2020
  • DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-64465-8


The infamous garbage patches on the surface of subtropical oceanic gyres are proof that plastic is polluting the ocean on an unprecedented scale. The fate of floating plastic debris ‘trapped’ in these gyres, however, remains largely unknown. Here, we provide the first evidence for the vertical transfer of plastic debris from the North Pacific Garbage Patch (NPGP) into the underlying deep sea. The numerical and mass concentrations of plastic fragments (500 µm to 5 cm in size) suspended in the water column below the NPGP follow a power law decline with water depth, reaching values

  • Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Plastic pollution, Vertical distribution, vertical transfer