MicroPlastics - Is it a threat for the 2 Seas Area.. (MICRO)
MicroPlastics - Is it a threat for the 2 Seas Area?
Start date: Jun 30, 2012,
End date: Sep 29, 2014
An increase in the production of plastics, to match the high demand brought about by our daily use of this material has contributed to a pollution phenomenon in the marine environment caused by plastic debris. Plastics are persistent materials, which tend to accumulate in the marine environment and affect marine life, as they remain in the ecosystem for years. Plastic materials degrade to smaller macro and microplastic (MP) particles, and can be ingested together with additives or chemical products by living marine organisms and be transported along the food chain. In the southern North Sea and Channel area, the abundance and the impact of macro and micro plastic is not well known. In the MICRO project, partners will collect information for this cross-border area focussing on the water column, the seabed, the surface and the coastline, with partners analysing the problem and conducting a risk assessment on these areas with regards to the impact on selected marine species or on maritime activities (fisheries, aquaculture, tourism…). They will also analyse the way in which the microbial load could mitigate and reduce this microplastic problem. Via modeling of the area, the MICRO partners will assess the potential hotspots for any accumulation of microplastics in the cross-border area. For each country, a hotspot will be assessed and will be rigorously monitored. Expected Results: What are the key results of the project?Activity 1:1. Uniform sampling strategies amongst the partners, a manual for sampling.2. An integrated database shared by all partners, comprising data on the occurence, distribution, characteristics and load of microplastics, derived from the many samples collected by each partner.3. Distribution maps and hotspot identification, which will inform different stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, on the occurence and potential transport of microplastics. Our knowledge on the transport dynamics of microplastics will be widely disseminated to educate scientists, legislators, policy makers and the wider public on the possible threat.4. Estimation of the impact of pollutants transported by microplastics.Activity 2:1. Data on the impact of microplastics on different species.2. Data on the impact on chemical load of microplastics.3. Publications on the effect of microplastic particles itself.4. Publications on the impact of the chemical load of microplastics.Activity 3:1. Estimation of the impact of microplastics on oyster spat recruitment, and the potential impact on oyster culture activity especially for the production of cupped oysters larvae and spat in commercial hatcheries.2. Data on the potential threat of microplastics concerning water quality (for recreation and aquaculture).3. Data on the potential of microbial species to degrade microplastics.Are all partners and territories benefitting from the results?The scientific community will directly benefit from MICRO, through sharing of skills, laboratory devices and the development of tools for biological effect assessment and modeling. The sampling strategy, the map of occurence of micro- and macroparticles, info on the type of plastic and distribution models will benefit the scientific community working on marine monitoring and plastic.The beneficiaries at mid-term scale are the governmental and professional actors. The SOPs for sampling will be uniform monitoringtools. Distribution maps will inform stakeholders on the occurence and transport of plastic particles. Info on the impact of microplastics on the health status of organisms is important to fisheries and aquaculture, identification of and info on plastic degrading bacteria for companies involved in remediation of waste and the plastic industry. Info on the biological effects of microplastics will be spread to scientists, legislators, policy makers and the wider public.The microbial health status of the marine swimming water is essential requirements for tourism and recreation bodies. Policymakers will be able to rely on the results for guidelines for e.g. water quality and the governement can implement the results to avoid potential problems concerning the microbial health status.On longer time scale, the general public will benefit from MICRO.The project will allow scientists, authorities and other stakeholders to adapt the developed tools in support of a clear communication with the public. MICRO will contribute to the transfer of knowledge and may be used as a pedagogic tool to introduce marine science and the impact of plastic litter in the marine environment. Besides, having more knowledge about the effects of the chemical load of microplastics on marine life is of great value to the consumers of marine seafood. Knowledge about the occurence and effects of plastics and their load is of major importance for marine and human health.What are the effects / outcomes for the territories involved?The sharing of knowledge and skills will benefit the whole scientific community in each territory. All partners will benefit from sharing specific competences and the achievements from common crossborder activities.The scientific and academic world will be informed, through the dissemination in conferences and scientific publications. The information on the possible impact of microplastics will also be used as educational tool. Furthermore, this communication will raise the public awareness about the threat and the effect of microplastics in the marine environment.Local, regional and international agencies involved in water quality frameworks, in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and different stakeholders, especially regarding aquaculture/mariculture, fisheries, plastic industry, water quality...will benefit from MICRO and will be informed with up-to-date information on different strategies concerning the potential problem with MP and possible mitigation measures.
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