School Email Exchange

Is there a way to find out how long a piece of plastic has been in the water?

Posted on November 09 2012

Question submitted by George Stevens Academy

There really isn’t any way to know how long plastic has been in the water.  There are many variables, some of which aren’t known at this time, that affect degradation of plastics in the ocean.  Most of the time the pieces are so small we don’t know what plastic object they originated from when they entered the ocean, let alone how long they’ve been there.