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Hundredfold increase in plastic trash in the Pacific

Narrator:​   This is Science Today. Since the 1970s, there's been a hundredfold increase in the amount of plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean. This, according to a new study led by graduate student Miriam Goldstein of the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Goldstein helped take extensive water samples during a student-led, 2009 Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastics Expedition, or SEAPLEX.

Goldstein:   ​We had heard about this island of trash that was somehow floating off the coast of California and because we realized there was very little scientific information about it, a bunch of students, including myself, got together and wrote a proposal to the University of California Ship Funds in order to get the time on the ship to get out and explore this issue scientifically.

Narrator:   Once in the ocean, Goldstein says it's virtually impossible to clean up the billions of tiny pieces of trash that makes its way into the ocean as litter. So, the key is prevention. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.