Plastics in the Ocean - Sources and distribution Part I

Abstracts

  • 11:00 The Impact of Marine Plastic on the Arctic Seas and their Ecosystem Services
    Authors: Nicola Beaumont ( Plymouth Marine Lab ); Jannike Falk-Andersson ( SALT ); Tara Hooper ( Plymouth Marine Lab ); Tenaw Abate ( NORUT ); CLAUDIA HALSBAND ( NIVA )

    This paper reviews the literature researching the impact of marine plastics on the Arctic environment, demonstrating a significant bias in the research towards birds and plastic abundance. A novel translation of these ecological impacts into ecosystem service impacts enables the understanding of not only the ecological impacts, but also the impacts on ecosystem service provision and in turn human wellbeing. The results evidenced a decline in ecosystem service provision, including a decline in the capacity for food provision, raw materials, recreational, bequest and existence values, and symbolic and spiritual benefits. It was also found that the plastics had a notable negative impact on the supporting services which underpin the provision of all benefits.

  • 11:15 Anthropogenic microplastic footprints in Arctic sea ice
    Authors: Ilka Peeken ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) ); Sebastian Primpke ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) ); Birte Beyer ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) ); Julia Gütermann ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) ); Christian Katlein ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) ); Thomas Krumpen ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) ); Melanie Bergmann ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) ); Laura Hehemann ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) ); Linn Hoffmann ( University of Otago ); Gunnar Gerdts ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) )

    Marine plastic pollution is a major concern for the global oceans since an estimated 8 million tons of plastic are released from land into the ocean each year. Under the influence of sunlight, temperature changes, mechanic abrasion and wave action, plastic degrades into smaller fragments. By definition particles < 5 mm are called microplastics (MP) and of major concern since this micro sized particles can even be taken up by organisms at the lower levels of the food web, with currently largely unknown health effects on marine life or humans. Sea ice cores collected by RV Polarstern in 2014 and 2015 at five different locations along the Transpolar Drift were studied for the various imprints of MP pollution. Through focal plane array detector-based micro-fourier-transform infrared imaging, MP concentrations up to 1.2 × 107 m-3 were found with most particles smaller than 50µm. These concentrations are several orders of magnitude higher compared to the water column and possible entrainment processes, based on experiments, will be discussed. Overall seventeen different polymer types were analyzed in the sea ice, which contributed on average between 48% (PE) and 1.65% (PP) to the total measured MP composition. The studied sea ice cores revealed strong differences in the polymer composition both between close by sampled sea ice cores and between the individual horizons studied from a single core. This suggests that different water masses have an individual footprint in terms of their polymer composition. By coupling a back tracking approach of the sampled sea ice together with a one dimensional thermodynamic sea ice growth model, different source regions could be identified for various polymer types. Polymer type’s characteristic of single-use products such as polyethylene reflect the long-distance sources coming with the Atlantic and Pacific inflow to the Central Arctic, while varnish rather reflect localized sources, which might become more pronounced as the exploration of the Arctic progresses. Given the ongoing decline in sea ice large fractions of MP can be released from the melting sea ice. If these particles might be sedentary or remain and accumulate in Arctic waters or will be transported to lower latitudes should be the subject of future studies.

  • 11:30 Local sources and accumulation zones of anthropogenic microlitter in Arctic waters
    Authors: Lisa Winberg von Friesen ( IVL, Swedish Environmental Research Institute ); Maria E Granberg ( IVL, Swedish Environmental Research Institute ); Lis Bach ( Aarhus University ); Martin Hassellöv ( University of Gothenburg ); Kerstin Magnusson ( IVL, Swedish Environmental Research Institute ); Jakob Strand ( Aarhus University ); Geir Wing Gabrielsen ( Norwegian Polar Institute )

    The remote Arctic is highlighted as a potential final destination for litter from global sources. However, anthropogenic microlitter may also originate from local emission related to shipping and runoff from land-based industries, dumping sites and sewage outlets. Waste water outlets are identified as important sources of anthropogenic microlitter to the marine environment in temperate areas. Since sewage treatment is generally lacking in the Arctic, municipal, industrial and hospital wastewater is often discharged directly into the sea. The relative importance of microlitter pollution sources is largely unknown in the Arctic. The aim of this investigation was to determine the occurrence and distribution of anthropogenic microlitter in marine coastal waters of Svalbard and Greenland. Focus was placed on understanding the relative importance of waste water outlets as point sources, and gain understanding of transport pathways and potential accumulation zones for microlitter. Rarely have several compartments been studied in parallel, but here sea water, waste water, sediment, sea ice and biota of different functional groups were sampled in Svalbard and Greenland. Sampling stations were placed in the vicinity of waste water outlets, at locations without permanent land-based activities and close to the sea-ice edge North of Svalbard. Detected particles were visually inspected and the chemical identity was determined using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. Anthropogenic microlitter were found in all investigated matrices. Sewage outlets and sea ice were both identified as important but qualitatively different sources of microlitter to the Arctic marine environment. Sea ice associated microlitter were released into the water column in the marginal ice zone, coinciding with the ice edge bloom and therefore suggesting potentially high interactions with biota. Information regarding environmental concentrations of microlitter, sources, pathways of transportation, fate and presence in organisms is essential in order to accurately evaluate the potential risk posed to the Arctic marine ecosystem. This information forms a basis for appropriate coastal zone management measures for marine litter pollution in the Arctic.

  • 11:45 Blown to the North? Microplastic in snow fallen out from the atmosphere of Europe and the Arctic
    Authors: Melanie Bergmann ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research ); Sophia Mützel ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research ); Michaela Meyns ( Sophia.Muetzel@awi.de ); Sebastian Primpke ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research ); Mine B. Tekman ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research ); Gunnar Gerdts ( Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research )

    There is a 99% mismatch between plastic debris estimated to enter the oceans and empirical evidence pointing to yet unaccounted sinks. The FRAM pollution observatory was installed to quantify plastic pollution in different ecosystem compartments to identify hidden sinks and pathways in an area of increasing pollution. Indeed, our first analyses showed enormous quantities of microplastics ≤ 25 µm in both Arctic sea ice and sediments from the deep sea posing the question: How is all this plastic transported so far to the North?

    First reports of microplastic in the atmosphere of Paris and Dongguan city (China) pointed to atmospheric transport as an important pathway. Here, we analysed snow samples from ice floes in the Fram Strait (2016/17) and from Spitsbergen, Helgoland, Bremen, Bavaria and the Swiss Alps (2018) to assess the role of this potential pathway of microplastic to the North. Identification of particles was carried out by µ-Raman and FTIR imaging. Microplastics were present in 13 out of 14 samples analysed and ranged from 0.22  - 193 × 10³ N L−1 melted snow in Europe. Although FTIR-imaging indicated that European snow is more contaminated than Arctic snow, concentrations were still high (0.04 - 107 × 10³ N L−1). The results demonstrate that the polymer composition varies strongly between samples and that it is also inhomogeneous within a sample region. As with previous data, the sizes of particles were mostly in the smallest size range with no saturation in the lowest size end pointing to the presence of yet smaller particles beyond the current detection limit. Arctic snow contained particles from 11-250 µm and European samples from 11- 150 µm, more than 90% were ≤ 25 µm. The polymer composition will be compared with that of sea ice to assess if atmospheric transport is linked with the contamination of sea ice/surface water.

    Our results have important repercussions as they expose a hitherto unknown route of microplastics to the north. In addition, the high concentrations of very small microplastic in the atmosphere, especially in urban areas, are of particular concern in the context of human exposure through inhalation.

Science Science

Wednesday 23rd January 2019

11:00 - 12:00

Clarion Hotel The Edge - Margarinfabrikken 1

Add to Calendar 2019-01-23 11:00 2019-01-23 12:00 Europe/Oslo Plastics in the Ocean - Sources and distribution Part I Clarion Hotel The Edge - Margarinfabrikken 1

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