Studying polar microplastics and nanoplastics
Plastics make up the largest quantity of the non-biodegradable material contaminating the world’s oceans and is a huge environmental concern because its longevity means that it can be distributed over huge distances from its origin, and accumulate in remote areas such as the Poles. Once in the ocean, mechanical and biological processes cause plastics to break down into microplastics, which are difficult to remove from the ocean and are a threat to the diverse marine food webs and ecosystems supported by polar waters. Nanuq-Manta was the first study to assess the presence and distribution of microplastics in the Arctic waters at 82°7N of latitude.
Water samples were collected using a manta net in the top 16 cm of surface water and sub-surface samples from the vessel’s on-board seawater pump, situated 6 m below the surface. This will allow for future microplastic monitoring and to a risk assessment of the potential impacts of decreasing sea ice, increasing shipping and commercial activity.
Sampling microplastics on board Nanuq
Here is how it works. All actions, step by step, for sampling microplastics using the Manta Net. Despite being above the 80° North we spotted deposited milk packages (with Russian text, validating the Siberian origin of the trunks), shampoo bottles, ice cream boxes, shreds of plastic bags and broken fishermen nets. This is how far human pollution traveled.#internationalyouthweek#internationalyouthday2018GlobalGiving#Polarquest2018Pubblicato da Polarquest 2018 su Sabato 11 agosto 2018
Find out more:
- Read about Nanuq’s 2016 microplastics sampling campaign.
- Read the August 2018 dispatch from Nanuq: taking the Northern-most microplastics sample
- Read the July 2018 dispatch from Nanuq: “Even out in the Arctic waters, plastic is all too common”
- Read our feature article on Nanuq’s search for the 6th microplastic island, in the Arctic ocean.
- Contribute to Polarquest2018 Microplastic campaign.