China : State research project dedicated to marine microplastics

A national key research project on microplastics was recently launched in Shanghai to assess their impact on the ecological environment, especially in the ocean.

Led by East China Normal University, the study will be conducted by several college laboratories and research institutions in a time span from 2016 to late 2020 and aims to detect marine microplastics, establish research standards and monitoring procedures and develop ways to control their risks on the ecosystem.

Microplastics, which are small particles of plastic debris found in cosmetics and cleaning products like toothpastes, are too small to be captured through existing wastewater treatment processes and are washed straight into the oceans. (…) (China.org.cn, February 21, 2017)

The news

The impact of microplastics on marine life

The University of Exeter microplastics team met up with the Rozalia Project team, in the rural town of Rockland, Maine, USA before heading 40 miles offshore to Hurricane Island.

Over the next course of two weeks the Microplastics and Rozalia teams travelled south to Boothbay Harbour, Portland, Kittery and Boston and were struck by the beautiful surroundings and wide variety of wildlife including minkie whales, dolphins, storm petrels and ospreys.

But the study also highlighted how widespread the dangerous debris, much of it non-degradable, had become. (…)

Exeter University research