Pieces of packaging and cigarette butts en masse in arctic ice

6308a4e0c5d4242ec797f57283ac61d2 - Pieces of packaging and cigarette butts en masse in arctic ice

Also the arctic ice is chock full of plastic afvaldeeltjes. That come from fishing and shipping in the region but possibly also of the plastic soup in the Pacific Ocean.

A last oasis of pure water, and virgin ice cream? Unfortunately, the Arctic is affected by plastic pollution. Researchers from the German Alfred Wegener Institute for sea and polar research were between 2014 and 2015 in five places in the Arctic Ocean, large quantities of plastic particles, especially microscopic. They counted up to 12,000 particles per litre of ice cream. Two to three times as much as previous measurements in the arctic. In one place, the Makarovbekken, they suggested concentrations that are just as high as in other, very polluted places in South Korea or in the Skagerrak between Denmark and Sweden.

Some of the particles were less than eleven microns wide, that is a sixth of a human hair. ‘Cause for concern’, says researcher Ilka Peeken in a press release, ” for w e do not know how harmful that is for the marine life, and ultimately also for humans.’

The investigators went after what that waste is composed was and where it came from. In this very sparsely populated region there is little to no waste of the borders by the seashore. However, there is much filth in the area to come along the rivers Lena (Russia) and Mackenzie (Canada). Also suspect that a part of the particles through the bering strait of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from. That is the floating garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean, one of the most famous examples of plastic soup. Especially the pieces of polyethylene, a plastic often used in packaging used, to trace them to that source.

Cigarette filters

At the same time, found the researchers also lot of paint and nylon nets, things that they ascribe to the fisheries and shipping, two activities that are increasing in the Arctic region. Also, there was striking much of the material found of which cigarette filters are made of.

The afvalstukjes do between two and eleven years to go from one side of the Arctic to the other to move. In a certain sense it is the ocean as a temporary storage place for all that waste. At the same time, there are high concentrations of free as that ice in the warm season melt. The particles spread to the other oceans of the world.

Peeken and her co-authors warn that a further exploitation of the Arctic for an increase of microplastics in the ice and the water may lead.

“This study shows yet again that no place on earth free of plastic waste,’ says the Gent milieutoxicoloog Colin Janssen Ghent university, specialist of plastic pollution in the sea. ‘Sooner or later everything comes to what we put on the one place of the world produce and sea dumping somewhere else to go, even in supposedly pristine areas like the Arctic Ocean.’

‘The interesting thing about this study is the fact that they are the origin, the transport and the composition of that waste exactly have to be able to analyze thanks to a infraroodspectrograaf that layer by layer analyzed. They could also the very small particles to discover.’

The results of the research appear today in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

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