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Plastics highly concentrated in Australian waters
Thursday, 13 February 2014 10:00

Written By Rebecca Graham

MICROPLASTICS less than 5mm in diameter are contaminating Australia’s
sea surface at a concentration of more than 4000 pieces per square
kilometre, according to research from UWA and CSIRO's Wealth from Oceans

Oceanographer and lead researcher Julia Reisser a PhD candidate at UWA’s
Oceans Institute and School of Environmental Systems Engineering, says
this information is an important step in quantifying the plastic hazards
that threaten Australian species and marine regions.

“The high number of small plastics present in our oceans is a toxic
threat to marine organisms and environments,” she says.

“They contain hazardous ingredients from manufacturing, like Bisphenol
A, as well as pollutants adsorbed from the seawater, which are
bioaccumulated up the marine food chain.

“Until now, we had little idea how much these tiny plastics were present
in Australian waters.”

Ms Reisser conducted sea surface net tows at 57 locations around
Australia, enabling her to collect the characteristics and concentration
of marine plastics in Australian waters.

Plastics highly concentrated in Australian waters

15. März 2014