Marketplace

  • IDEXX Water
    IDEXX

    Colilert®-18 Approved as Water Microbiological Reference Method for the Rapid Identification of Bacterial Contamination in Drinking Water

    ISO Standard Method is included in European Drinking Water Directive, now Transposed into National Legislation

  • Valeport Water
    Valeport

    Valeport unveils versatile new probe for multiple applications

    A unique new probe that combines the power of the SWiFT SVP and a turbidity sensor has been launched by leading British oceanographic and hydrographic instrument specialist, Valeport. 

  • BT Corporate Reports
    BT

    BT helps customers cut carbon emissions by 11.3 million tonnes

    BT’s annual Delivering our Purpose report, says its products helped customers cut their carbon emissions by 11.3 million tonnes. Revenue from these products totalled £5.3bn, representing 22 per cent of its total revenue last year.

  • Shared Interest Corporate Reports
    Shared Interest

    SOCIAL ACCOUNTS YEAR ENDED SEPTEMBER 2017

    Mary Coyle MBE, the Chair of Shared Interest, says: "I am pleased to report in this set of Social Accounts that we have made considerable progress in achieving the goals set out in our 2014 Strategic Review. This year our lending supported over 160 producer groups, helping almost 375,000 individuals in 60 countries, 30% of whom were women."

v ecohouse button

shared iterest button

web mossborough spud field copy

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