Oceans: The Mystery of the Missing Plastic

99% of the plastic that should be floating in the oceans is missing. Even accounting for the plastic that washes up on beaches or is trapped in arctic ice, millions of tonnes have simply disappeared.

As most plastic never deteriorates, it simply breaks down into smaller and smaller particles that are invisible to the human eye, what happens to this missing ocean plastic is a mystery. In this investigation, scientists embark in search of the micro-plastics. Small, mostly invisible, toxic, they are home to a new ecosystem: the plastisphere. But where are they? Ingested by organisms? Buried under the ocean floor? Degraded by bacteria? And what is the impact of them entering the food chain?

Only 1% of the plastic that enters the oceans floats on the surface. But where are the remaining 99%? What happens when plastic pieces get through the food chain and into people? What's living on the plastic surface and spreading all over the planet? No film approaches these disturbing mysteries like this. A fundamentally deeper view of the plastic theme than usual.

Director(s): Vincent Pérazio
Production: ARTE France, Via Découvertes, Green Planet Films, Arte France, Via Découvertes
Actors: François Galgani, Richard Thompson, Kara Law, Janet Janbeck, Eric van Sebille, Lucy Wodals, Chelsea Rushman, Collin Janson, Linda Amaral
Year: 2016
Duration: 52 min
Our age recommendation: 16
Language (audio): French, English
Country of origin: France
Shooting Locations: France, United States, Belgium, United Kingdom
Screening rights: Javafilms ()

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Main topic(s): Oceans
Secondary topics: biodiversity population globalisation plastic urban development
Mentions: garbage microplastic science plancton food chain flame retardants polyethylene chemicals beads pollutants fish cancer bacteria cholera plastisphere plastic food chain

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