In the journal SCIENCE on July 11, 2014 article "Mikroplastik in seawater» (Microplastics in the seas) Kara Lavender Law, Richard C. Thompson.
I offer a summary of the article, which I believe may be of interest to the project participants. The idea is that it becomes a serious problem in the presence of sea water microscopic particles of plastic, which is a result of the destruction of large plastic products entering the natural water with household waste. Such a particle size from several microns to several millimeters called "mikroplastik", they represent a risk because it is made available to a wide range of organisms, including zooplankton.
Scientists have found very high concentrations of mikroplastika in northern waters (even in the composition of ice in the Arctic), and in the subtropical ocean waters away otnazemnyh sources. Also, high concentrations were found in mikroplastika indoor pool, such as the Mediterranean Sea. Throughout worldwide mikroplastik present in coastal sediment, usually from 2 to 30 particles per 250ml.
Due to the small particle size may provide mikroplastik living organisms other effect than large debris. For example, a set of micro-particles of plastic in the ocean water can serve as a habitat for microbial communities that are different from those that live in the natural environment. Also, some organisms such as mussels can accumulate polymer particles. A receipt mikroplastika in marine worms can disrupt physiological processes that contribute to the accumulation of body energy.
Plastic trash easily absorb harmful chemicals that were in natural waters as a result of human activity, increasing their concentration on the order. This process is reversible and microparticles of plastic can release toxic substances adsorbed by ingestion of a living organism that is proven in laboratory studies of marine worms and fish. Mikroplastika toxin release from the polymer depends on the impurities in the body and environment, in particular the pH and the temperature. These processes are specific and not yet fully predictable.
There is also the fear that the plastic waste may generate potentially toxic additives such as plasticizers, flame retardants and antimicrobial agents that have been used in the production process of plastic.
The above data about the dangers mikroplastika obtained from laboratory studies. But it is unclear whether the high concentration of toxic chemicals that are transported microparticles of plastic in living organisms to cause significant harm. However, the absorption of microparticles plastic mammals, fish, birds and invertebrates now well established. Although the number of absorbing particles may be low, the very existence of this process in some natural populations is cause for concern.
So, open questions remain about the risks that are associated with the absorption mikroplastika for marine organisms and ecosystems, as well as food safety for public health. Research is urgently needed on the behavior of different polymers in the environment.
Today microplastic debris removal from the environment is not possible. Effective solution to the problem could be secondary processing of raw materials on the basis of the sorting of household waste, which would reduce the amount of plastic entering the environment.
Photos from the journal SCIENCE on July 11, 2014, p.145.