Toxic bacteria found on microplastics around Singapore’s coastline

Toxic bacteria capable of causing coral bleaching and wound infections in humans have been found on microplastics picked up from the Republic’s coastline between April and July 2018.Marine scientists at the National University of Singapore (NUS) found more than 400 different types of bacteria on 275 pieces of microplastics collected from three beaches – Lazarus Island, Sembawang Beach and Changi Beach.

Straitstimes.com, 11/02/2019

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EU proposes ban on 90% of microplastic pollutants

European Chemicals Agency draft law aims to cut 400,000 tonnes of plastic pollution

A wide-ranging ban on microplastics covering about 90% of pollutants has been proposed by the EU in an attempt to cut 400,000 tonnes of plastic pollution in 20 years.

Every year, Europe releases a bulk amount of microplastics six times bigger than the “Great Pacific garbage patch” into the environment – the equivalent of 10bn plastic bottles. The phasing out proposed by the European Chemicals Agency (Echa) would remove 36,000 tonnes a year of “intentionally added” microplastic fibres and fragments, starting in 2020. Cosmetics, detergents, paints, polish and coatings would all require design overhauls, as would products in the construction, agriculture and fossil fuels sectors. The draft law targets microplastics that are not necessary but have been added to products by manufacturers for convenience or profit.

The Guardian, 30/01/2019

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Do Microplastics in the Ocean Affect Scallops ? A conversation with WHOI scientist Scott Gallager

WHOI scientist Scott Gallager is making field observations and conducting lab experiments to explore the possible effects of microplastics in the ocean on marine organisms. Specifically, he’s looking at sea scallops at different life stages to determine if the tiny plastic fragments they ingest when filtering seawater stunt their growth. The work is part of WHOI’s Marine Microplastics Initiative, which is aimed at understanding the fate of “hidden” microplastics in the ocean and their impacts on marine life and human health.  (whoi.edu, Oceanus Magazine, 24/01/2019)

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Microplastics found in human stools for the first time: Study

In a study presented at a prestigious global gastroenterology conference, there was a surprising revelation – small plastic pieces, also known as microplastics, were found in stool samples of participants, thereby suggesting there may be a significant amount of microplastic present in the human food chain.

Based on this study, the authors estimated that “more than 50% of the world population might have microplastics in their stools”. Samples from the eight subjects were sent to a laboratory in Vienna where they were analysed using a Fourier-transform infrared microspectrometer.

Researchers from the Environment Agency Austria and the Medical University of Vienna followed eight healthy volunteers from different parts of the world – Finland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, United Kingdom and Austria. The participants supposedly maintained a diary in which they logged in what food or drink they consumed for a week. The researchers then tested their stool for 10 different types of plastics. It was found that all of their stool samples were found to contain microplastic particles. On an average, 20 particles of microplastic were found in each 10 grams of excreta. (…) (indianexpress.com, 24/10/2018)

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Plastic pollution: Scientists identify two more potential ‘garbage patch’ zones in world’s oceans

Study attempts to locate remaining 99% of plastic unaccounted for by conventional surveys.

An attempt to locate millions of tons of “missing” plastic in the world’s oceans has thrown up two locations that may contain enormous, previously unreported patches of debris.

Plastic has risen to the top of the environmental agenda after scientists sounded the alarm about the potential impact it as having on marine life.

Best estimates suggest 10 million tons of plastic are dumped in the sea every year. (…) (Theindependent, 13/09/2018)

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