sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : New study shows plastic pollution much worse than accepted
New study shows plastic pollution much worse than accepted


'Marine plastic concentrations in Australian waters'    . ©

Plastic pollution is likely to be much worse than officially recognised, posing a threat to Australian species and ecology, according to the latest study published in journal PLOS ONE.

Each square kilometre of Australian sea surface water is contaminated by around 4,000 pieces of tiny plastics, according to researchers, Julia Reisser, Oceanographer and PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia and Charitha Pattiaratchi, Winthrop Professor of Coastal Oceanography at UWA.

These small plastic fragments, mostly less than 5mm across, are loaded with pollutants that can negatively affect several marine species, from tiny fish and zooplankton to large turtles and whales.

Plastics can be transported from populated areas to the marine environment by rivers, wind, tides, rainwater, storm drains, sewage disposal, and flooding, or can directly reach the sea from boats and offshore installations.

Throughout their marine journey, plastics break down into increasingly smaller pieces mostly due to the effect of sunlight and heat. These plastic fragments, commonly called microplastics when smaller than 5mm, represent the vast majority of human-made debris present at beaches, seafloor, and in the water column.


Gyre ocean rubbish -  .. .  
The effects of plastics on food webs and ecosystems have become focus of concern over the last decade. It is now known that over half of our plastic objects contain at least one ingredient classified as hazardous.

To make matters worse, plastics that enter the oceans become increasingly toxic by adsorbing oily pollutants on their surface.

When plastic is ingested, these concentrated toxins can be delivered to animals and transferred up their food chains.

This biomagnification of toxins is more likely to occur when plastics are small enough to be ingested by low trophic fauna, such as small fish and zooplankton.

These tiny ocean plastics may affect the health of entire food webs, which include humans. For instance, little plastic pieces were found in the stomach of some Southern Bluefin tuna captured off Tasmania and destined for human consumption.

Until now, plastic contamination in Australian waters was mostly inferred from beach clean-up reports. There was no at-sea survey focused on sampling plastic debris in waters around this country.

Researchers used a net called Manta Net to catch floating plastics at the ocean surface. Small fragments of hard plastic were the most common type, but soft plastics, such as fragments of wrappers, and strings (mostly fishing lines) were also common.

Oceanic gyres -  .. .  
Size and types of marine plastics collected around Australia. Examples of each plastic type are shown in the photos.
These plastics were mostly made of polyolefins (polyethylene and polypropylene). These polymers account for 52% of our plastic production and are typically used to make throwaway packaging. They are also used for manufacturing fishing equipment such as crates, nets, ropes, and lines.

Our overall mean sea surface plastic concentration was 4,256.4 plastic pieces per km2. This mean value is higher than those reported for other regions, such as the Caribbean Sea (1,414 pieces per km2) and Gulf of Maine (1,534 pieces per km2).

However, in the subtropical gyres, plastics tend to accumulate due to converging ocean currents, and mean plastic concentrations are higher: from 20,328 pieces per km2 in the North Atlantic Gyre, to 334,271 pieces per km2 in the North Pacific Gyre. The Mediterranean Sea is also a global hotspot for plastics: it has around 116,000 plastics per km2.

Researchers observed higher plastic concentrations close to major Australian cities (Sydney, Brisbane) and industrial centres (Karratha) as well as in remote areas where ocean currents converged (such as south-west Tasmania).

These observations, along with our ocean current modelling results, indicate that marine plastics reach Australian waters from multiple sources: domestic and international populated areas, as well as maritime operations.

Plastics, made mostly of oil and gas, are cheaper than the natural materials they replace for the manufacture of many objects, such as packaging and fishing gear.

As a result, incentives to re-use or recycle every-day items have decreased over the last few decades. Meanwhile plastic production has increased from 1,700,00 tonnes in 1950 to 280,000,000 tonnes in 2011.

In Australia, 1,476,690 tonnes of plastics were used in 2011-2012, of which just 20.5% was recycled. Most of these plastics (around 37%) were used for manufacturing single-use disposable packaging, including plastic bottles, cups, and bags.

Marine plastic pollution is a global issue caused by our massive production of plastic waste. The solution for this recent environmental problem is not simple.

Authors of the report believe there are three important steps. First, decrease plastic waste: this could be achieved by reducing production of single-use plastic packaging. Second, improve our plastic disposal practices on land at an international level. And last, better enforce the laws prohibiting dumping of plastics at sea.

More at www.plosone.org


by Jeni Bone

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=117807

10:45 PM Sun 22 Dec 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World













































ISAF Sailing World Championships - Watch medal races live here by Dan Ibsen, Sail-World Europe & UK editor,








470 Men and Women Worlds - Vadlau and Ogar into pole position by 470 International Association Class,




ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Strong competition for RS:X fleets by Olga Maslivets, International RS:X Class Assoc.,










Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - Quantum Racing ahead of target
ISAF Worlds Santander - 19 Rio 2016 Laser Radial spots awarded
Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds - 21 broadcasters to take live coverage
Rolex Swan Cup - Looking forward to the next 30 years
America’s Cup: The Future is foiling – AC45s to be modified
Volvo Ocean Race: Win a stopover trip by designing an ECsix T-Shirt
Red Bull 49erFX: On the eve of the Worlds in Santander
America's Cup: Ben Ainslie Racing launches partnership with Yamaha
2014 Chicago Match Cup - Starts tomorrow
Rio 2016 Daylight the issue for Olympic sailing regatta
ISAF Sailing World Championships - USA 470's and Lasers battle at top
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Santander - Day 5 video highlights
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Santander images by Jesús Renedo
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - No action on day 2
470 Men and Women Worlds - Game on for Olympic Qualification
ISAF Sailing World Championships: Finns off to slow start in Santander
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Seesaw Day 5 in Santander + Video
ISAF Sailing World Championships - 470 sailors shine in Santander
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - Kiwi Ray Davies returns to TP52 fleet
Starboard Hatteras Wave Jam - No windsurfing action on day 1
A complete recap of the most successful Melges 20 World Championship   
Rolex Big Boat Series - Prizegiving images by Chuck Lantz   
ISAF Santander - Upwards path for Austrian women's 470 crew + video   
18ft skiffs: Carnage compilation from the glory days of the Grand Prix   
ISAF Worlds: Video from the British Sailing Team   
Bart's Bash expected to set new records this weekend   
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - Marcilio Browne wins Super Session   
470 Men and Women World Championships - Racing abandoned on day 2   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 4 images from Santander   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander: Emerging Nations Program sailors shine   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Teasing winds play havoc on day 4   
ISAF Sailing World Championships: Hot conditions in Santander on day 4   
Santander ISAF Sailing World Championships joins Bart’s Bash   
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - Grounded fishing boat creates problems   
Marseille One Design - GC32 Armin Strom Sailing Team emerge victorious   
Rolex Big Boat Series 2014 - Ready for another 50 years   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 4   
2014 Rolex Swan Cup - Eleventh-hour victories   
Extreme Sailing Series - Kiwis clinch Act win in Istanbul + Video   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Two long races today for the J70 fleet   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT