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  • Air Quality & Emissions Show (AQE) Air Quality
    Air Quality & Emissions Show (AQE)

    View live vehicle emissions data at AQE 2018

    Visitors to next week's Air Quality & Emissions Show (AQE 2018) in Telford will be able to view live emissions data from vehicles travelling on a road close to the Telford International Centre, where the event will take place (21-22nd Nov.) Ricardo plc, a global strategic engineering and environmental consultancy, will operate the monitoring equipment, providing a live feed into their AQE exhibition stand number No. 74.

  • ABB Laboratory, Monitoring, Process & Analytical
    ABB

    ABB to exhibit latest technologies for water and air monitoring at WWEM & AQE 2018 shows

    ABB's new AquaMaster flowmeter and Dynamic QR code remote assistance tool for air quality systems to feature at WWEM & AQE 2018 shows

  • Jacopa Water
    Jacopa

    Jacopa Strengthens Stormwater Solutions

    Wastewater solutions specialist Jacopa has reached a landmark agreement with German water technology systems expert Steinhardt GmbH as the sole agent for its wide range of flood and process protection products in the UK and Ireland.

  • EMEX 2018 Trade Shows & Conferences
    EMEX 2018

    EMEX, the Energy Management Exhibition, taking place on the 21st and 22nd of November at ExCeL London will have a stellar line-up of speakers and exhibitors.

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Thursday, 23 February 2017 11:56

Tiny particles from tyres and clothes add to ocean's 'plastic soup'

Washing clothes and driving cars could contribute up to 30% of the 'plastic soup' polluting the earth's oceans and – in many of the world's richest countries – invisible particles from sources including tyres, synthetic textiles or city dust are a bigger source of marine plastic pollution than plastic waste, according to a new IUCN report.

plastic particles1The report looked at primary microplastics – plastics that enter the oceans in the form of small particles, as opposed to larger plastic waste that degrades in the water – released from household and industrial products across seven geographical regions. Sources of primary microplastics include car tyres, synthetic textiles, marine coatings, road markings, personal care products, plastic pellets and city dust.

According to the report, between 15 and 31% of the estimated 9.5 m tonnes of plastic released into the oceans each year could be primary microplastics, almost two-thirds of which come from the washing of synthetic textiles and the abrasion of tyres while driving.

"This report is a real eye-opener, showing that plastic waste is not all there is to ocean plastics," says IUCN Director General Inger Andersen. "Our daily activities, such as washing clothes and driving, significantly contribute to the pollution choking our oceans, with potentially disastrous effects on the rich diversity of life within them, and on human health. These findings indicate that we must look far beyond waste management if we are to address ocean pollution in its entirety. IUCN therefore calls on private sector leadership to undertake the necessary R & D for the needed production shifts."

In parts of the developed world enjoying effective waste management, such as North America, primary microplastics are a bigger source of marine plastic pollution than plastic waste, according to the report. Synthetic textiles are the main source of primary microplastics in Asia and tyres dominate in the Americas, Europe and Central Asia.

"The findings of this report have important implications for the global strategy to tackle ocean plastic pollution, which currently focuses on reducing plastic waste," says Joao de Sousa, Marine Project Manager, IUCN's Global Marine Programme. "They show that solutions must include product and infrastructure design as well as consumer behaviour. Synthetic clothes could be designed to shed fewer fibres, for example, and consumers can act by choosing natural fabrics over synthetic ones"

plastic particles2The report states that recent calls to ban the use of microbeads in cosmetics are a welcome initiative, but as this source is only responsible for 2% of primary microplastics, the effects of a potential ban would be limited.

Plastic pollution harms marine wildlife and is thought to accumulate in the food web, with potentially negative consequences for human health. Effects on fragile ecosystems in regions such as the Arctic, where microplastics could affect ice formation and melting, are still unknown.

LINK
IUCN Report - Primary microplastics in the oceans

WWEM 2018

AQE 1018