More plastic waste because of Covid
Approximately 18.4 million tonnes of plastic waste are said to have been caused by the Covid-19 pandemic up until August 2021 in 193 countries, predominantly in Asia. This is the estimate made by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who see in this above all a threat to marine life.
New marine protection area in the North Atlantic
The countries of the Oslo-Paris Convention (OSPAR), which is subject to international law and was set up for the protection of the North Sea and the North-East Atlantic, have resolved to establish an extensive protection area and define concrete reduction targets for marine litter. The countries organised in OSPAR will place under conservation an area of 6,000 square kilometres, which is larger than Germany and Great Britain together, and will thus, according to the latest information, become the second-largest protected area in the world.
Read more … New marine protection area in the North Atlantic
Borealis extends Project STOP
In Indonesia, Borealis is to invest in the further expansion of the project launched together with Systemiq in 2017 that aims to reduce environmental pollution by plastic waste. With a comprehensive financing commitment to extend the project, Borealis wants to drive the circular economy for plastics in the region by setting up circular waste management systems.
Robot removes plastic from rivers
Students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) have tested technologies with which plastic waste is automatically removed from rivers. The young researchers, who want to tackle the global problem of marine pollution, are starting their project with rivers, so that the litter cannot get into the seas in the first place. With the help of a robot, the plastic bottles, toys or shoes fished out of rivers are to be automatically sorted and separated from biological materials.
Recommended reading: Plastics in the Aquatic Environment – Part 1
The book provides a comprehensive overview of the effects of pollution by plastics on fresh water and seawater, and the resultant challenges when evaluating and managing plastic waste in the aquatic environment. In one of the chapters, BKV Project Manager Stephanie Cieplik explains the BKV model entitled "From Land to Sea: Model for the Documentation of Land-Sourced Plastic Litter".
Read more … Recommended reading: Plastics in the Aquatic Environment – Part 1
Study: "Plastics in the Environment"
This study, which was published in German in April, is a further development of the BKV model "From Land to Sea". The report reflects the discussion among experts which is now moving away from focusing solely on discharges of plastics into the seas, and calls for a more comprehensive look at the discharges and final whereabouts of plastics in the environment. The report now provides a holistic picture of the discharges and final whereabouts of plastic waste in the aquatic and terrestrial environments. An English version will follow shortly.
Long-term effect of microplastics on mussels
A team from the Geomar Helmholtz Center for ocean research in Kiel carried out a laboratory experiment over a period of 42 weeks in which they subjected juvenile blue mussels to various concentrations of microplastics. The results – recently published in "Science of the Total Environment" – are surprising: According to the authors, the study shows that the mussels are barely affected by microplastics in the water even over a long period of time.
Ships coatings as an important source of microplastic
Microparticles in the southern part of the North Sea stem predominantly from paints and surface coatings of ships' hulls. This was the result of a study from the Institute for Marine Chemistry and Biology of the University of Oldenburg. It claims to be the first study offering an overview of microplastic distribution in the North Sea. The research team led by Dr. Barbara Scholz-Böttcher found above all plastic particles stemming from binders of ships coatings. As a source, they are said to be of similar importance as tire abrasion on land. The results show that significantly more microplastic is produced on the open seas than previously supposed.
Read more … Ships coatings as an important source of microplastic
Microplastics in the Baltic Sea – new monitoring approach
An international team headed by Gerald Schernewski from the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research in Warnemünde (IOW) has calculated on the basis of existing data and secondary literature how many particles of the most commonly used plastics with a size of between 0.02 and 0.05 mm from urban sources get into the Baltic Sea and how they behave there. In the opinion of the team, the results offer promising approaches for efficient monitoring and also for reduction measures.
Read more … Microplastics in the Baltic Sea – new monitoring approach
Interview: On the right path to international standardization
In connection with the concluding conference of the funding priority "Plastics in the Environment", at which several joint projects also dealt with modeling approaches and measuring methods for the analysis of plastic discharges into the soil and wastewater (see our report), we asked an expert on the subject for his appraisal of the results and about the present situation with the standardization of the measuring methods: Dr. Claus Gerhard Bannick is head of the specialist department for wastewater technology research at the German Environment Agency (UBA).
Read more … Interview: On the right path to international standardization