Some 60,000 particles of microplastics per square meter — meaning one particle per 16 square millimeters — are estimated to exist at Nasanohama beach on Toshi Island in Toba, Mie Prefecture, a study by Yokkaichi University professor Satoshi Chiba has revealed.

Although the beach is known as a place where heavy concentrations of marine waste from Ise Bay wash up, there has been no research done on microplastics at the beach near the mouth of the bay.

Chiba, who specializes in coastal and marine environmental studies, and his students at the university in Mie Prefecture conducted the survey in February. They collected microplastics — plastic particles with a diameter of 5 mm or less — at 11 locations on the beach, each measuring 900 square centimeters on the surface and up to 5 cm deep.