A manufactured material is snagged on coral affected by white syndrome coral disease.
"Plastics make ideal vessels for colonizing microscopic organisms that could trigger disease if they come into contact with corals", said the study's lead author, Joleah Lamb.
In addition, Harvell says, plastic can block sunlight from reaching coral.
"It's really sad", she said.
The scientists estimate that about 11.1 billion plastic items are entangled on reefs across the Asia-Pacific region, and that this will likely increase 40 percent over the next seven years. "The likelihood of disease increases from 4% to 89% when corals are in contact with plastic".
Twitter Prepares Snapchat-Like Feature for Easy Video Sharing
Bloomberg's report stated that Twitter's goal with the new product is to cut down the number of steps to start sharing videos. It's possible that by copying Snapchat's camera-first approach, Twitter could hit two birds with one stone.
Throughout the course of their research, scientists involved in the new study noticed that the plastics problem was not evenly distributed. "Plastic debris can cause physical injury and abrasion to coral tissues by facilitating invasion of pathogens or by exhausting resources for immune system function during wound-healing processes", the authors of the study write.
The masses of plastic in the world's oceans are having a harmful effect on coral reefs, which are already suffering under the effects of over-fishing and increased water temperatures.
"What's troubling about coral disease is that once the coral tissue loss occurs, it's not coming back", said Lamb.
Similarly, polypropylene - which is used to make bottle caps and toothbrushes - can be colonised by Vibrio, a potential pathogen linked to a globally devastating group of coral diseases known as white syndromes.
"It's like getting gangrene on your foot and there is nothing you can do to stop it from affecting your whole body", she said.
Besides plastic waste damaging the corals - tiny invertebrates whose calcium carbonate skeletons build up reef structures - another threat comes from the way the detritus can carry diseases across open seas. This has potentially dire implications for the numerous marine species that shelter under or within these corals, and in turn the fisheries that depend on them.
California's SpaceX Test Fires World's Biggest Rocket, Plans Flight Soon
Some space advocates think Falcon Heavy could offer a quicker, cheaper path for NASA to send astronauts back to the moon. Even though the Senate voted in favour of resuming the activities, it is still unclear when the activities will resume.
Corals that weren't in with garbage had just a four per cent chance of being visibly diseased. "Plastic waste management is critical for reducing diseases that threaten ecosystem health and human livelihoods".
As well as documenting the plastic waste they saw, the scientists visually examined almost 125,000 corals, looking for evidence of disease.
Lamb said the study made her more aware about plastic pollution and guilty about her own use of plastic.
Based on other studies, the researchers think there are a couple of ways the plastic could be causing disease.
It was funded by The Nature Conservancy, the Australia Institute of Marine Science, the U.S. National Research Council, the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Australian Research Council, the Environmental Defense Fund and Cornell University.
Murphy Brown revival happening at CBS; Candice Bergen returning
Now, CBS has joined the reboot frenzy with 13 new episodes planned of " Murphy Brown " starring Candice Bergen . In 2010 TV Guide named Murphy Brown one of the "25 Greatest TV Characters of All Time".