Study on the "missing" plastic waste

Study on the "missing" plastic waste

05.09.2020

The Australian research organization CISRO and the Dutch University of Utrecht came together to examine the question of what happens to the "missing plastics", in other words the quantities of plastic waste that should arithmetically be present in the ocean according to estimates, but could not be traced in such quantities. Their answer is that most of the litter is carried back by the sea to the coastal areas and deposited there.

The current study published in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters, confirmed the results of earlier research such as the study published in 2017 on sources of pollution on coasts and river estuaries. At that time, three hypotheses were presented on their origin: Firstly, direct littering by beach visitors, secondly, litter from surrounding regions washed away by streams and rivers, and thirdly, the suspected transport of litter back again on to the land from the sea. The present analyses of the litter collected between 2011 and 2016 every 100 kilometers along Australia's coastline with a 56 percent content of plastic confirm the suspicion that around 90 percent of the litter that gets into the sea remains in a coastal area eight kilometers wide. A large proportion of this apparently becomes caught up in coastal waters or in the brushwood. According to the chief author of the study, Arianna Olivelli from the University of Utrecht, the results indicate that plastic gets into the ocean from urban areas and is then transported back again to the land, where it remains.
Olivelli is convinced that the research results of the CSIRO on the "missing plastic" could also be valid for other countries. In her own field trials in other countries, she has also documented that litter collects most frequently in coastal regions enclosed by vegetation.
Sources:
    • neues-deutschland.de (11.07.2020)
    • Photo: ©Pixabay

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