The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has been assigned to identify important sources of microplastics in the sea and to work for reducing the production and emission of microplastics from these sources. Within the scope of this governmental assignment, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute has been funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency to review the sources of microplastics and the pathways microplastics take to reach the sea.
A range of potential sources for microplastics and the pathways by which microplastics can reach the sea were selected for the review. The sources included both intentionally produced plastic pellets and plastic particles formed from fragmentation of larger plastic items. The pathways were primarily stormwater, wastewater and atmospheric deposition. For sea-based sources particles are discharged directly to the sea. Information was collected from scientific articles, reports and through personal communication with experts in relevant areas. Where the available data allowed, calculations were done to quantify the amounts of microplastics. (…)
Kerstin Magnusson, Karin Eliasson, Anna Fråne, Kalle Haikonen, Johan Hultén, Mikael Olshammar, Johanna Stadmark, Anais Voisin, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, March 2016