Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Where does all the plastic go?

07.05.2004


A team of expert marine biologists and chemists has carried out research which proves for the first time that oceans and shores are contaminated with microscopic fragments and fibres of plastic.



Eight scientists from the Universities of Southampton and Plymouth and the Plymouth-based Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science have today (Friday 7 May) published their findings in the prestigious international journal Science.

The article ’Lost at Sea: Where Is All the Plastic?’ provides a snapshot of the extent of contamination of marine habitats by microscopic plastic fragments. The results of the project, which was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, show conclusively that microscopic plastics are now common in marine habitats. It is already known that large items of plastic debris are accumulating in the seas and on shorelines, harming marine life including turtles, fish, seabirds and mammals.


Samples were collected around the Plymouth coastline and then analyzed at Southampton by University chemist Dr Andrea Russell using a technique called Fourier Transform-Infra Red spectroscopy. Various fibres were identified, including nylon, polyethylene acrylic and other synthetic polymers. These polymers are used for a wide range of domestic and industrial products, such as clothing, packaging and rope, which indicates that these fragments are the result of larger items disintegrating.

Speaking about the research Dr Russell said: ’Some of the particles we identified in the samples were of natural origin and others could not be identified. However, about one-third were synthetic polymers and we conclusively identified nine of these. They were present in most samples, but were considerably more abundant in subtidal sediment.’

Dr Richard Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Marine Ecology at the University of Plymouth and head of the research team, commented: ’Given the durability of plastics and the disposable nature of many plastic items, this type of contamination is likely to increase. Our team is now working to identify the possible environmental consequences of this new form of contamination.’

Sarah Watts | alfa
Further information:
http://www.soton.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>