The number of plastic particles in the Arctic Ocean is a record, polluting or entering the human food chain

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Scientists from the Wegner Institute of Polar and Oceanographic Research are sampling a melting pond in the Arctic.

According to the British "Guardian" reported on April 24, scientists have discovered record-breaking plastic particles in the sea of ​​the Arctic Ocean, which may have caused public concern about the impact of marine life and human health.

In the core samples collected from five regions of the Arctic Ocean, there are as many as 12,000 plastic particles per liter of sea ice cube mixture – three times as many as in previous studies.

Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute's Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research found particles in outer packaging, paint, nylon, polyester and cellulose acetate. In each of the samples from 2014 and 2015, the presence of cellulose acetate was discovered, which is the raw material for making cigarette filters.

The results of this study came at a time when public concerns about plastic pollution were rising. Experts warn that the current scale of plastic pollution is likely to cause permanent pollution to the entire planet.

According to previous studies, at least one ton of plastic debris has been frozen in the Arctic ice sheets in the past few decades, making it the main source of global plastic pollution, which is more concentrated than the famous Pacific garbage belt. Many times higher.

But after the measurement was done in the lab, Dr. Gunnar Judds said his research showed that the problem was actually more serious because some of the plastic particles were only 11 microns in diameter.

“This is about one-sixth the diameter of a human hair. The results also explain why we found that more than 12,000 particles per liter of sea ice cube mixture – higher than the particles we measured in the past. 2 to 3 times."

The Wagner Institute's research not only found a record number of plastic particles, but also found a possible source of these plastic particles – from degraded fishing gear to thousands of miles of plastic pollution as a result of ocean currents.

Dr. Ilka Picken, one of the authors of the study, said: "The concentration of high plastic particles in seawater ice cubes is not only derived from areas outside the Arctic Ocean. Instead, the study points to local pollution in the Arctic."

Scientists say the extent to which this level of plastic pollution affects marine life and human health is uncertain.

Picken said: "No one can clearly point out how much these plastic particles are harmful to marine life and humans."

Marine plastic pollution is a far-reaching issue. About five tons of plastic debris are currently floating on the global sea. Fish and birds often mistake plastic for food. In this way, plastic damages a whole biological chain associated with the ocean and enters the human food chain.

Scientist Julia Gutman analyzed plastic particles in a mixture of sea ice in the core Arctic.

Current research has found that polyethylene found in a region of the Arctic has reached record levels. These polyethylenes

It is considered to be a huge “garbage belt” from the Pacific Ocean. In addition, researchers found high concentrations of paint and nylon particles in another part of the Arctic, indicating increased transportation and fishing activities.

The Wagner Institute's study also found that there are so many plastics in the Arctic ocean ice, and because the ice can move and melt, they have become an important means of transporting plastic particles throughout the Arctic.

Dr. Jeremy Wilkinson, a sea ice physicist at the British Antarctic Survey, described the study at Wegner Institute as "a benchmark study that provides comparative criteria."

“Plastic particles have been found in all the Arctic cores... This shows that plastic particles are ubiquitous in the surface waters of the global ocean. Nowhere is it.”

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