A new technique involving large-volume (10 m(3)) samples of seawater was used to determine the abundance of microplastics (MPs) in the water column in the West Pacific Ocean and the East Indian Ocean. Compared to the conventional sampling methods based on smaller volumes of water, the new data yielded abundance values for the deep-water column that were at least 1-2 orders of magnitude lower. The data suggested that limited bulk volumes currently used for surface sampling are insufficient to obtain accurate estimates of MP abundance in deep water. Size distribution data indicated that the lateral movement of MPs into the water column contributed to their movement from the surface to the bottom. This study provides a reliable dataset for the water column to enable a better understanding of the transport and fate of plastic contamination in the deep-ocean ecosystem.