According to the Los Angeles Times, the environmental effects of the so-called plastisphere "are only beginning to be understood." The term refers to discarded trash that reaches the ocean and is creating a marine ecosystem. Researchers have theorized that floating junk may provide platforms for pathogens and that the plastisphere may break down and leach dangerous chemicals into the ocean.

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

Get The Brief

Never miss a moment in Texas politics with our daily newsletter.