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A Major Hidden Problem

Microplastics—tiny plastic fragments less than five millimeters in size—are ubiquitous in the global ocean. In fact, an estimated eight million tons of plastics enter our oceans each year, yet only one percent can be seen floating at the surface. Where the rest ends up is not well understood.

WHOI's Microplastics Initiative

The presence of microplastics and nanoplastics in the oceans is a worldwide concern. To help address this pressing problem, WHOI has launched an interdisciplinary research program to understand the fate and impacts of plastics in the marine environment. Our research is supported by both public and private sources and involves a diverse group of scientists, engineers, students, postdoctoral researchers, and science communicators. We invite you to explore these pages and contact any of the team members to inquire about opportunities to become involved in and support our research effort.

Recent News/Media

WHOI is embarking on a long-term, interdisciplinary investigation of marine microplastics to understand the fate of microplastics drifting through the ocean, gauge their impacts on marine life and human health, and engineer new technology solutions needed to push the science forward.

Support for Microplastics@WHOI

Help us investigate issues like microplastics in our ocean