Together, these two factors have led to a high prominence of plastic pollution in the environment.
Plastic pollution can afflict land, waterways and oceans.
Their abundance has been found to transport persistent organic pollutants, also known as POPs.
These pollutants have been linked to an increased distribution of algae associated with red tides.
Macrodebris are often found in ocean waters, and can have a serious impact on the native organisms. Even after they have been abandoned, they continue to trap marine organisms and other plastic debris.
Eventually, these abandoned nets become too difficult to remove from the water because they become too heavy, having grown in weight up to 6 tons.
These micro-plastics can accumulate in the oceans and allow for the accumulation of Persistent Bio-accumulating Toxins such as bisphenol A, polystyrene, DDT, and PCB's which are hydrophobic in nature and can cause adverse health affects.
Thompson and his associates found that plastic pellets from both domestic and industrial sources were being broken down into much smaller plastic pieces, some having a diameter smaller than human hair.
Both mega- and macro-plastics are found in packaging, footwear, and other domestic items that have been washed off of ships or discarded in landfills.
Fishing-related items are more likely to be found around remote islands.