Scientists have found huge quantity of microplastics in the arctic sea, according to a report published on April 24, 2018.
It was found that the level of pollution was three times higher than what they thought it would be. 12,000 particles of plastic were found in every liter of sea ice and these particles could be ingested by native animals. Their voyages covered five regions along the Transpolar Drift and Fram Strait, which channel sea ice from the Central Arctic to the North Atlantic.
Apart from polar sea ice acting as a store for ocean plastic, the sea ice movement could be depositing microplastics in areas that were plastic-free earlier. Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer was used by the researchers to analyze their samples. This device enabled them to examine the ice cores layer by layer in detail. The sources of these microplastics include ship paint particles and cigarettes butts. Polyethylene also was found in huge amounts and these are expected to flow from the Pacific. The microplastics trapped in the ice were very tiny for it to be ingested by small Arctic creatures.
Dr. Pennie Lindeque, lead plastics scientist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory said, “While we don’t yet know the full extent of the impact of microplastics on the health of the marine environment or humans, the growing body of evidence suggests microplastic pollution is a contaminant of environmental and economic concern.” Plastic debris is a highly persistent form of contamination that can accumulate in considerable concentrations even in remote locations far from the likely points of entry to the ocean. According to the researchers, interdisciplinary research that focusses on the delivery of proper evidence to inform industry and policy about the most suitable solutions should be the key priority.