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2019-10-11. In the Sea, Not All Plastic Lasts Forever.

posted Oct 15, 2019, 10:22 AM by Alan Gould
By William J. Broad, The New York Times. [https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/11/science/plastics-ocean-degrade.html] For GSS Ecosystem Change chapter 7. Excerpt: A major component of ocean pollution is less devastating and more manageable than usually portrayed, according to a scientific team at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution [https://www.whoi.edu/press-room/news-release/sunlight-degrades-polystyrene-faster-than-expected/] on Cape Cod, Mass., and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [http://news.mit.edu/2019/renewlogy-plastic-waste-1010]. Previous studies, including one last year by the United Nations Environment Program [https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/25496/singleUsePlastic_sustainability.pdf], have estimated that polystyrene, a ubiquitous plastic found in trash, could take thousands of years to degrade, making it nearly eternal. But in a new paper [https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acs.estlett.9b00532], five scientists found that sunlight can degrade polystyrene in centuries or even decades....