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CANBERRA - Researchers have used a robotic submarine to determine that microplastic pollution could be much worse than previously feared with twice as much at the bottom of the sea as there is on the surface.

Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Industrial and Scientific Organisation (CSIRO), now estimates there are 14.4 million tonnes of microplastics - tiny fibres which mostly shed from synthetic textiles - at the bottom of the ocean.

Scientists came up with the estimate – said to be the first of its kind – after examining sediment in depths of up to 3,062 metres in the Great Australian Bight, a pristine marine environment off the country’s south coast.

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