Plastic trash that accounts for the majority of marine debris.Among them, "microplastics", which have been miniaturized to a few mm or less in nature, adsorb harmful chemical pollutants such as PCBs and easily enter the ecosystem by being accidentally swallowed by fish and seabirds. Is worried.Kyushu University has decided to conduct the world's first survey of microplastics on the Pacific Transverse Route from the Antarctic Sea to the coast of Japan from 2015 as a joint project with Ehime University, Tokyokaiyo University, and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. Did.This project is supported by the Ministry of the Environment's Comprehensive Environmental Research Promotion Fund.

 Professor Atsuhiko Isobe (Kyushu Univ.), The principal investigator, collected microplastics in various parts of the Seto Inland Sea and noted that the closer to the shore, the larger the size.The closer to the surface of the sea, the easier it is to receive the force carried to the shore, so large buoyant plastic pieces are more likely to be carried to the shore, and the plastic pieces washed up on the shore deteriorate and crush.Professor Isobe thinks that the plastic pieces that have been miniaturized in this way will be exposed to the waves again, and the drifting layer will spread to deeper layers, making it difficult for them to be carried to the shore, and as a result, the microplastics will expand their distribution area offshore. I am.

 The purpose of this project is to collect microplastics on the Pacific Ocean Transverse Route from the coast of Japan to the Antarctic Ocean, and to elucidate their distribution, transportation process, and process until environmental risks become apparent.Furthermore, we will establish a new method for investigating microplastics, which is a marine pollutant, formulate a roadmap for a plastic-reducing society, actively disseminate information, and inform society of the actual state of "marine plastic pollution". I'm going to do it.

Source:[Ministry of the Environment] Elucidation of the dynamics of microplastics drifting from the coast to the ocean and environmental risk assessment (PDF)

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