Microplastics in Greenland – British Antarctic Survey

Microplastics in Greenland

Microplastics in Greenland – British Antarctic Survey – the impact of plastics on animals and fish

Dr Huw Griffiths talks about his research. The British Antarctic Survey scientist looks for the incidence of micro plastics on beaches in Greenland.

An estimated 75% of all the litter in our oceans is plastic. Around 5 million tonnes of plastic waste enters the ocean annually.

A significant concentration of plastics debris found in both polar oceans.  This indicates that plastic pollution is a global problem. The impact on the sensitive polar ecosystem could be profound.

The Southern Ocean has the lowest densities of large plastic litter in the world. For the last three decades, the British Antarctic Survey has been regularly monitoring the area. Large plastic debris is discovered washed up on beaches near the BAS’s research stations.

British Antarctic also records incidents of swallowing and entanglements of birds and mammals. Many of these animals travel huge distances to find food and can bring plastics. They also carry other marine debris to the Antarctic from more polluted parts of the world.

More recently, British Antarctic research has turned its attention to the emerging and worrying issue of micro plastics. These smaller pieces of plastic are less than 5 mm in size.  Now, micro plastics can come from a range of sources, like personal care products such as toothpastes. Shampoos and shower gels. synthetic fibres from laundry; and from the breakdown of larger pieces of plastic debris.

The video gives an illustration of what is discovered.

Find out more here: https://www.bas.ac.uk

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