The world's oceans are being swamped by microplastics, causing an environmental ''disaster'', say Danish scientists. Amy Pollock reports.
An idyllic Caribbean beach, marred by plastic washed up on the tideline. Local nature enthusiast Patrick Paley says it's a common sight. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LOCAL BERMUDAN AND NATURE ENTHUSIAST PATRICK PALEY SAYING: "We see things washing up everyday and it really saddens my heart. But I also know, that for everythin g we see, there's a lot more out there, that we don't see," And Danish scientists say the plastic pollution in the world's oceans constitutes an environmental disaster. The Plastic Change campaign group is gathering data from the North Atlantic ocean gyre - where currents meet, and plastic washed down rivers and coasts collects in a 'soup'. Kristian Syberg is on board the Expedition Plastic research vessel (SOUNDBITE) (English) ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN ENVIRONMENTAL RISK, UNIVERSITY OF ROSKILDE, KRISTIAN SYBERG, SHOWING PLASTIC PARTICLES, SAYING: "We can see from our trawls now that we are getting a lot of plastic particles here, you can see different shapes and different colours here. And these are the larger fragments, we have some plastic bag, fishing line and nylon and this is probably from a cheap plastic bag or something like that." Marine wildlife like dolphins and sea turtles can become entangled in what the ship's trawls are picking up. And microplastics from larger items made brittle by sunlight and broken down by waves can even enter the human food chain. The scientists say the world's plastic soups cannot be ignored. Henrik Beha Pedersen is the expedition leader. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HENRIK BEHA PEDERSEN, EXPEDITION LEADER AND FOUNDER OF DANISH NGO "PLASTIC CHANGE", SAYING: "Of course we all need to take action and take care, that when we use plastic, it doesn't end up in the ocean. What we really need is industry people and we need politicians to take responsibility of this mass pollution of the oceans - this environmental disaster." Expedition Plastic will set its course for the world's biggest plastic 'soup', the Great Northern Pacific Garbage Patch, next Spring.