Where microplastic comes from in Arctic

Where microplastic comes from in Arctic

August 02, 2022

Plastics in Arctic waters are driving warming, but without plastic, there would be more waste on the planet, experts say.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Scientists have found microplastics in the Arctic, before that it had already been found in Baikal lake, in food and even in human body. How plastic turns into microplastics, where it comes from in the Arctic Circle and what threats it poses, experts discussed at a conference on waste and microplastics in the Arctic.

According to the UN, by 2050 the share of plastic in the oceans will exceed the weight of all its fish resources. The acidity of the water could rise by 150 percent, and by 2100, up to 70 percent of corals, which are essential ecosystems for many species of food fish, could be destroyed.

Experts have reported that a slick is already growing in the Barents sea, which is 70 percent plastic. To improve the situation, the Ministry of Natural Resources proposes to cover at least 10 percent of coastal and marine ecosystems with environmental protection measures by 2030, including the creation of specially protected natural areas.

Andrey Pedchenko, leading researcher at the freshwater fish department of the marine and freshwater fish of russia department, disagreed with the representative of the Natural Resources Ministry and noted that there is no spot in the Barents sea, Russian-Norwegian surveys showed that we are talking just about local concentration of garbage.

Plastic turns into microplastics after being ground in water resources. They are particles of less than five millimeters. Experts noted that marine debris can be transported over long distances, so most of the microplastics in the Arctic seas of Russia “sailed” from other countries.

As a result of scientific research, it is clear that the source of microplastics is, among other things, waste that is either discharged from ships, or it is nets or waste from fishing vessels, the remains of ship paint, which is also fixed by scientists.

One of the important problems in the fight against microplastics is that there is no single methodology for changing it in Russia and the world, which leads to the fact that it is difficult to generalize and analyze data. Now it is often discussed that food and humans for some part consist of microplastics. However, there is no proven data yet. So far, there is very little research.

To prevent plastic from becoming microplastic, it is enough just to bring it to the trash can. Only 10-30 percent of the plastic that is taken from the sea can be recycled, as it has already undergone decomposition.

Plastic appeared globally in people’s lives about 60 years ago, and it saved nature, says Ruslan Gubaidullin, executive director of the Pure Country Association:

“Can we remove plastic from our lives? No! Plastic cannot be replaced. It just needs to be treated right”.

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Text: Ekaterina Maksimova, Photo: istockphoto.com

August 02, 2022

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