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The chamber wrote a letter to Boswell asking her to withdraw the bill, citing statistics from the World Economics Forum that say nearly 8 million metric tons of plastic get into the ocean every minute. 

In their analysis, the researchers estimated that between 100 and 1,200 tons of plastic is floating in the Arctic Ocean -- a wide range to be sure, but one that could be narrowed with future study. 

When we take tons of as singular and when take plural? Or Both are possible? Little bit confused

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We take a quantity like tons or liters as singular when the quantity represents a mass. Take barrels for example:

Approximately 100,000 barrels of oil is fouling beaches along the Gulf Coast after the tragic tanker mishap.

Here the quantity represents a gooey mass, one in which the concept of individual discrete barrels has no usefulness other than as a way of keeping tally on the overall amount. If you sucked some of it from the spill it would have to be measured to determine how much was collected

On the other hand, we use plural when the quantity represents items that may be counted:

Approximately 100,000 barrels of Guinness are now floating in the North Atlantic after the collision between two cargo ships.

Here the discrete barrels are individual, countable items. If you plucked any of them from the sea you would know immediately how many barrels you had collected without having to measure any further.

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