Get plastic back: biologists have figured out why the ocean needs "balls of Neptune"
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Get plastic back: biologists have figured out why the ocean needs "balls of Neptune"

15 January , 17:15SciencePhoto: Posidonia Green Festival
Algae traps millions of plastic particles to cleanse the ocean

Scientists have found that the ocean is self-cleaning from plastic pollution through the so-called "balls of Neptune", according to Agence France-Presse. Research on this has been published in Scientific Reports.

The Balls of Neptune are spherical formations of Posidonia Oceanica that can be seen along the Mediterranean coasts. Currents pull algae from the bottom, roll them into lumps and carry them ashore.

A group of marine biologists from the University of Barcelona counted the plastic particles in the balls thrown onto the beaches of Mallorca and deduced the numbers for the entire coast. It turned out that in the Mediterranean Sea alone, coastal Posidonia is capable of collecting nearly 900 million plastic particles annually into "balls". "Algae traps plastic debris from the seabed, and then these traps are removed from the marine environment - washed ashore", - the researchers said. This process is a continuous cleaning of plastic waste from the sea.

"Шары Нептуна" фильтруют воду от пластикового мусора
Photo:Marta Veny/UNIVERSITY OF BARCELONA/AFP/Getty Images

Seagrass inhabited the oceans from the Arctic to the tropics 80-100 million years ago. In addition to cleaning plastic from the ocean, it improves water quality, absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen, provides natural shelter for hundreds of fish species, and helps prevent coastline erosion and mitigates the impact of storms.

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