Large quantities of globally produced plastics end up in the oceans where they represent a growing risk. Above all very small objects, so-called microplastic particles, are endangering the lives of the many sea creatures. An estimate of how greatly the oceans are polluted with microplastic particles has so far failed in the absence of globally comparable methods of investigation and data.
Microplastic particles are also to be found in cosmetics and cleaning agents, however. “Very small plastic particles are used as “abrasives” in many a peeling product. They then reach the sea via sewage water and rivers“, says the biologist. And finally every plastic bottle, every plastic bag floating on the sea, one day disintegrates into countless microparticles. “It can take years for larger plastic parts to disintegrate primarily through physical processes. The UV radiation of the sun makes the plastic brittle. It is then broken down into ever smaller parts from the waves and friction processes“, says Lars Gutow.
If in the future all marine researchers used standardised methods to record the microplastic particles based on the recommendations of this comparative study, then not only the reliability of their results ought to increase considerably. This then offers the chance of determining the final fate of microplastic particles accumulating in the world’s oceans and to uncover the consequences of this pollution for the ecological systems and therefore for humans.The title of the original publication is:
Ralf Röchert | idw
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