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Extended: Scientists from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, California, studied layers of sediment on the west coast of America from 1834 - and found evidence of pollution

Stone, bronze, iron and now the PLASTIC era: scientists say the man-made material has polluted the future fossil record

  • Layers of earth were studied in a coastal area of ​​California dating from 1834
  • They discovered the deposition of sediment plastic that usually comes from clothing
  • Experts believe that they are deposited via wastewater that flows into the ocean
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Plastic is now polluting the rocks of the world and will pollute the future fossil record, experts say.

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Scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California, studied sediment layers on the west coast of America from 1834.

There, they discovered that microparticles had entered the Santa Barbara basin – probably from wastewater flowing into the ocean.

In addition, the level of spelling has increased in recent decades, doubling every 15 years since the end of the Second World War, when plastic production boomed.

Extended: Scientists from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, California, studied layers of sediment on the west coast of America from 1834 - and found evidence of pollution

Extended: Scientists from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, California, studied layers of sediment on the west coast of America from 1834 – and found evidence of pollution

HOW DO MICRO-PLASTICS COME INTO THE OCEANS?

Microplastics are very small pieces of plastic waste, including microbeads, microfibers and plastic fragments.

Although about 90 percent of microplastic pollution in the oceans is thought to come from land, little is known about their movements.

Most of the rivers studied had about 517,000 plastic particles per square meter, according to researchers from the University of Manchester who conducted the detailed study.

After a period of flooding, the researchers resampled all sites.

They discovered that most of the contaminants had fallen and that the floods had removed about 70 percent of the microplastics stored on the river beds.

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This shows that flood events transfer large amounts of microplastics from urban rivers to oceans.

The microplastics most commonly found in a 14-inch (36 cm) sample were synthetic fabrics used in clothing.

Others include pieces of plastic film, such as those used to pack edible goods or to seal items for shipment.

The sediment that represented geologically 2010, the year in which the survey was conducted, showed that pollution reached nearly 40 particles per 4-inch by 4-inch piece of ocean floor.

As a result, experts suggest that the evidence could possibly define our geological age as & # 39; the plastic age & # 39 ;.

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Jennifer Brandon, who led the study, said: “It is bad for the animals that live at the bottom of the ocean: coral reefs, mussels, oysters, and so on.

& # 39; But the fact that it ends up in our fossil record is more an existential question.

& We all learn at school about the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age – is this called the plastic age? It is scary that this is what our generations will be remembered for. & # 39;

Earlier this week, nature conservation experts from the University of Vienna claimed that we eat and drink around 73,000 small pieces of plastic every year.

These unintentionally enter our mouth, intestines and stools while scientists discover that an average daily movement contains 200 pieces of microplastics.

Legacy: the sediment that represented geologically 2010, the year in which the survey was conducted, showed that the pollution reached 40 particles per 10 cm by 10 cm ocean floor
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Legacy: the sediment that represented geologically 2010, the year in which the survey was conducted, showed that the pollution reached 40 particles per 10 cm by 10 cm ocean floor

Legacy: the sediment that represented geologically 2010, the year in which the survey was conducted, showed that the pollution reached 40 particles per 10 cm by 10 cm ocean floor

Worse: the sediment that represented geologically 2010 exhibited pollution that reached nearly 40 particles each 10 cm x 10 cm ocean floor

Worse: the sediment that represented geologically 2010 exhibited pollution that reached nearly 40 particles each 10 cm x 10 cm ocean floor

Worse: the sediment that represented geologically 2010 exhibited pollution that reached nearly 40 particles each 10 cm x 10 cm ocean floor

It is also estimated that the annual intake of microplastics per person from shellfish, tap water and salt is 11,000, 5,800 and 1,000 respectively.

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This comes on top of about 70,000 people who are inhaled by polluted air by some people. The particles are present in dust.

The Scripps data is published in the journal Science is progressing.

WHICH FURTHER RESEARCH IS NEEDED TO ASSESS THE SPREAD AND IMPACT OF MICROPLASTIC?

The report & # 39; Microplastics in Drinking Water & # 39; of the World Health Organization 2019, many areas for future research that shed light on how far the problem of microplastic pollution has spread, how it can affect human health and what can be done to prevent these particles from entering our water resources.

How widespread are microplastics?

The following research would clarify the occurrence of microplastics in drinking water and freshwater sources:

  • More data is needed on the occurrence of microplastics in drinking water in order to adequately assess people's exposure to drinking water.
  • Microplastics prevention studies should use quality-conscious methods to determine the number, shape, size and composition of the particles found. They must identify whether the microplastics come from the freshwater environment or from the extraction, treatment, distribution or bottling of drinking water. In the first instance, this research should focus on drinking water that is thought to be most at risk of particle contamination.
  • Drinking water studies would be usefully supplemented with better data on fresh water that can be used to quantify freshwater imports and to identify the main sources. This may require the development of reliable methods to track origin and identify sources.
  • A set of standard methods is required for sampling and analyzing microplastics in drinking water and fresh water.
  • There is a considerable knowledge gap in the understanding of nanoplastics in the aquatic environment. A first step to close this gap is to develop standard methods for sampling and analysis of nanoplastics.

What are the health implications of microplastics?

Although water treatment can be effective in removing particles, there are limited data that are specific to microplastics. To support risk assessment and human health management options, the following gaps in water treatment data need to be addressed:

  • More research is needed to gain insight into the fate of microplastics in various wastewater and drinking water treatment processes (such as purification processes and oxidation) under various operational conditions, including optimum and sub-optimal operation and the influence of particle size, shape and chemical composition on removal efficacy.
  • There is a need for a better understanding of the composition of the particle composition before and after water treatment, also in distribution systems. The role of microplastic degradation and wear in water treatment systems, as well as the microplastic contribution of the processes themselves must be considered.
  • More knowledge is needed to gain insight into the presence and removal of nanoplastic particles in water and wastewater treatment processes as soon as standard methods for nanoplastics are available.
  • There is a need for a better understanding of the relationships between turbidity (and particle numbers) and microplastic concentrations during treatment processes.
  • Research is needed to understand the importance of the possible return of microplastics to the environment from sludge and other waste streams from treatment.

To gain a better understanding of microplastics-associated biofilms and their significance, the following research could be conducted:

  • Further studies can be conducted on the factors that influence the composition and potential specificity of microplastically associated biofilms.
  • Studies could also consider the factors that influence biofilm formation on plastic surfaces, including microplastics, and how these factors vary for different plastic materials, and which organisms more often bind to plastic surfaces in freshwater systems.
  • Research could be done to better understand the ability of microplastics to transport pathogenic bacteria downstream for longer distances, the rate of degradation in freshwater systems, and the relative amount and transport capacity of microplastics compared to other particles.
  • Research could consider the risk of horizontal transfer of antimicrobial resistance genes into microorganisms in plastispheres compared to other biofilms, such as those found in WWTPs.

Can water treatment ensure that microplastics do not end up in our water supply?

Although water treatment can be effective in removing particles, there are limited data that are specific to microplastics. To support risk assessment and human health management options, the following gaps in water treatment data need to be addressed:

  • More research is needed to gain insight into the fate of microplastics in various wastewater and drinking water treatment processes (such as purification processes and oxidation) under various operational conditions, including optimum and sub-optimal operation and the influence of particle size, shape and chemical composition on removal efficacy.
  • There is a need for a better understanding of the composition of the particle composition before and after water treatment, also in distribution systems. The role of microplastic degradation and wear in water treatment systems, as well as the microplastic contribution of the processes themselves must be considered.
  • More knowledge is needed to gain insight into the presence and removal of nanoplastic particles in water and wastewater treatment processes as soon as standard methods for nanoplastics are available.
  • There is a need for a better understanding of the relationships between turbidity (and particle numbers) and microplastic concentrations during treatment processes.
  • Research is needed to understand the importance of the possible return of microplastics to the environment from sludge and other waste streams from treatment.
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