Folder Desktop Study on Marine Litter, Including Microplastics, in the Arctic

Desktop_Study_on_Marine_Litter.jpgThis is a collection of submissions on marine litter literature of relevance to the Arctic based on a dedicated submission form sent out to Arctic Council members and experts in Fall 2017. This was in support of the development of the  Desktop Study on Marine Litter, including Microplastics in the Arctic (May 2019) with the aim to:
  1. Evaluate the scope of marine litter in the Arctic and its effects on the Arctic marine environment;
  2. Enhance knowledge and awareness of marine litter in the Arctic;
  3. Enhance cooperation by the eight Arctic States to reduce negative impacts of marine litter on the Arctic marine environment; and
  4. Contribute to the prevention and/or reduction of marine litter pollution in the Arctic and its impact on marine organisms, habitats, public health and safety, and to reduce the socioeconomic costs litter causes.

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pdf Anderson, J. C., et al. (2016). "Microplastics in aquatic environments: Implications for Canadian ecosystems." Environmental Pollution 218: 269-280.

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Anderson-2016-Microplastics in aquatic environ.pdf

Anderson, J. C., et al. (2016). "Microplastics in aquatic environments: Implications for Canadian ecosystems." Environmental Pollution 218: 269-280.
Microplastics have been increasingly detected and quantified in marine and freshwater environments, and there are growing concerns about potential effects in biota. A literature review was conducted to summarize the current state of knowledge of microplastics in Canadian aquatic environments; specifically, the sources, environmental fate, behaviour, abundance, and toxicological effects in aquatic organisms. While we found that research and publications on these topics have increased dramatically since 2010, relatively few studies have assessed the presence, fate, and effects of microplastics in Canadian water bodies. We suggest that efforts to determine aquatic receptors at greatest risk of detrimental effects due to microplastic exposure, and their associated contaminants, are particularly warranted. There is also a need to address the gaps identified, with a particular focus on the species and conditions found in Canadian aquatic systems. These gaps include characterization of the presence of microplastics in Canadian freshwater ecosystems, identifying key sources of microplastics to these systems, and evaluating the presence of microplastics in Arctic waters and biota.

pdf Bergmann, M., et al. (2016). "Vast Quantities of Microplastics in Arctic Sea Ice—A Prime Temporary Sink for Plastic Litter and a Medium of Transport." MICRO 2016: Fate and Impact of Microplastics in Marine Ecosystems: From the Coastline to the Open Sea: 7

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Bergmann-2017-Vast Quantities of Microplastics.pdf

Bergmann, M., et al. (2016). "Vast Quantities of Microplastics in Arctic Sea Ice—A Prime Temporary Sink for Plastic Litter and a Medium of Transport." MICRO 2016: Fate and Impact of Microplastics in Marine Ecosystems: From the Coastline to the Open Sea: 7
Although the Arctic covers 6% of our planet’s surface and plays a key role in the Earth’s climate it remains one of the least explored ecosystems. The global change induced decline of sea ice has led to increasing anthropogenic presence in the Arctic Ocean. Exploitation of its resources is already underway, and Arctic waters are likely important future shipping lanes as indicated by already increasing numbers of fishing vessels, cruise liners and hydrocarbon prospecting in the area over the past decade. Global estimates of plastic entering the oceans currently exceed results based on empirical evidence by up to three orders of magnitude highlighting that we have not yet identified some of the major sinks of plastic in our oceans. Fragmentation into microplastics could explain part of the discrepancy. Indeed, microplastics were identified from numerous marine ecosystems globally, including the Arctic. Here, we analysed horizons of ice cores from the western and eastern Fram Strait by focal plane array based micro-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to assess if sea ice is a sink of microplastic. Ice cores were taken from land-locked and drifting sea ice to distinguish between local entrainment of microplastics vs long-distance transport. 

pdf Bergmann, M., et al. (2017). "High quantities of microplastic in Arctic deep-sea sediments from the HAUSGARTEN observatory." Environmental science & technology.

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Bergmann-2017-High Quantities of Microplastic.pdf

Bergmann, M., et al. (2017). "High quantities of microplastic in Arctic deep-sea sediments from the HAUSGARTEN observatory." Environmental science & technology.
Although mounting evidence suggests the ubiquity of microplastic in aquatic ecosystems worldwide, our knowledge of its distribution in remote environments such as Polar Regions and the deep sea is scarce. Here, we analyzed nine sediment samples taken at the HAUSGARTEN observatory in the Arctic at 2,340 – 5,570 m depth. Density separation by MicroPlastic Sediment Separator and treatment with Fenton’s reagent enabled analysis via Attenuated Total Reflection FTIR and µFTIR spectroscopy. Our analyses indicate the wide spread of high numbers of microplastics (42 – 6,595 microplastics kg-1). The northernmost stations harbored the highest quantities, indicating sea ice as a transport vehicle. A positive correlation between microplastic abundance and chlorophyll a content suggests vertical export via incorporation in sinking (ice-) algal aggregates. Overall, 18 different polymers were detected. Chlorinated polyethylene accounted for the largest proportion (38 %), followed by polyamide (22 %) and polypropylene (16 %). Almost 80 % of the microplastics were ≤ 25 µm. The microplastic quantities are amongst the highest recorded from benthic sediments, which corroborates the deep sea as a major sink for microplastics and the presence of accumulation areas in this remote part of the world, fed by plastics transported to the North via the Thermohaline Circulation. 

pdf Boucher et al. (2017). Primary Microplastics in the Oceans: a Global Evaluation of Sources

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Boucher-2017-Primary Microplastics in the Ocea.pdf

Boucher et al. (2017). Primary Microplastics in the Oceans: a Global Evaluation of Sources

Plastic has penetrated everyday life: from clothing to coatings and from transport vehicles to cleaning products Plastic is cheap, durable, lightweight and malleable, resulting in a practically unlimited number of possible applications The disadvantages of plastics however are becoming more and more visible Large quantities of plastics leak into rivers and oceans, with adverse effects to marine ecosystems and related economic activities

Plastic wastes include all size residues, from large visible and easily removable items, to small invisible particles This report investigates the sources of primary microplastics i e microplastics that are directly released into the environment as small plastic particles (< 5 mm size) This contrasts with secondary microplastics that originate mostly from the degradation of large plastic waste into smaller plastic fragments once exposed to the marine environment Primary microplastics can be a voluntary addition to products such as scrubbing agents in personal care products (shower gels, creams, etc ) They can also originate from the abrasion of large plastic objects during manufacturing use or maintenance such as the erosion of tyres when driving or the abrasion of synthetic textiles during washing

This report is one of the first of its kind to quantify primary microplastics leakage and to demonstrate that these primary microplastics are globally responsible for a major source of plastics in the oceans The model developed for this analysis enables us to conclude that between 15 and 31% of all of the plastic in the oceans could originate from primary sources This is a significant but as-of-yet unrecognised proportion In some countries benefitting from advanced waste treatment facilities, primary microplastics releases even outweigh that of secondary microplastics

The global release of primary microplastics into the ocean was estimated at 1 5 million tons per year (Mtons/year) The estimate ranges between 0 8 and 2 5 Mtons/year according to an optimistic or pessimistic scenario The global figure corresponds to a world equivalent per capita release of 212 grams or the equivalent of one empty conventional plastic grocery bag thrown into the ocean per person/per week worldwide

The overwhelming majority of the losses of primary microplastics (98%) are generated from land- based activities Only 2% is generated from activities at sea The largest proportion of these particles stem from the laundering of synthetic textiles and from the abrasion of tyres while driving Most of the releases to the oceans are occurring from the use of products (49%) or the maintenance of products (28%) The main pathways of these plastics into the ocean are through road runoff (66%), wastewater treatment systems (25%) and wind transfer (7%)

The study reviewed seven regions – Africa and Middle East, China, East Asia and Oceania, Europe and Central Asia, India and South Asia, North America, and South America It revealed comparable releases per region in absolute value – ranging from 134 to 281 Ktons/year The per capita releases, however, are very different between regions – ranging from 110 to 750 grams/person/year Further, most regions are expected to have increased releases of primary microplastics in the next decades This is due to improvements in per capita income without improvements in systems to prevent the releases

pdf Cai, L., J. Wang, J. Peng, Z. Tan, Z. Zhan, X. Tan and Q. Chen (2017). Characteristic of microplastics in the atmospheric fallout from Dongguan city, China: preliminary research and first evidence. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int, 24(32): 24928-24935

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Cai-2017-Characteristic of microplastics in th.pdf

Cai, L., J. Wang, J. Peng, Z. Tan, Z. Zhan, X. Tan and Q. Chen (2017). Characteristic of microplastics in the atmospheric fallout from Dongguan city, China: preliminary research and first evidence. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int, 24(32): 24928-24935

Microplastic pollution has exhibited a global distri- bution, including seas, lakes, rivers, and terrestrial environ- ment in recent years. However, little attention was paid on the atmospheric environment, though the fact that plastic de- bris can escape as wind-blown debris was previously reported. Thus, characteristics of microplastics in the atmospheric fall- out from Dongguan city were preliminarily studied. Microplastics of three different polymers, i.e., PE, PP, and PS, were identified. Diverse shapes of microplastics including fiber, foam, fragment, and film were found, and fiber was the dominant shape of the microplastics. SEM images illustrated that adhering particles, grooves, pits, fractures, and flakes were the common patterns of degradation. The concentrations of non-fibrous microplastics and fibers ranged from 175 to 313 particles/m2/day in the atmospheric fallout. Thus, dust emission and deposition between atmosphere, land surface, and aquatic environment were associated with the transporta- tion of microplastics.

pdf Cole, M., P. K. Lindeque, E. Fileman, J. Clark, C. Lewis, C. Halsband and T. S. Galloway (2016). Microplastics Alter the Properties and Sinking Rates of Zooplankton Faecal Pellets. Environ Sci Technol, 50(6): 3239-3246

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Cole-2016-Microplastics Alter the Properties a.pdf

Cole, M., P. K. Lindeque, E. Fileman, J. Clark, C. Lewis, C. Halsband and T. S. Galloway (2016). Microplastics Alter the Properties and Sinking Rates of Zooplankton Faecal Pellets. Environ Sci Technol, 50(6): 3239-3246

Plastic debris is a widespread contaminant, prevalent in aquatic ecosystems across the globe. Zooplankton readily ingest microscopic plastic (microplastic, < 1 mm), which are later egested within their faecal pellets. These pellets are a source of food for marine organisms, and contribute to the oceanic vertical flux of particulate organic matter as part of the biological pump. The effects of microplastics on faecal pellet properties are currently unknown. Here we test the hypotheses that (1) faecal pellets are a vector for transport of microplastics, (2) polystyrene microplastics can alter the properties and sinking rates of zooplankton egests and, (3) faecal pellets can facilitate the transfer of plastics to coprophagous biota. Following exposure to 20.6 μm polystyrene microplastics (1000 microplastics mL−1) and natural prey (∼1650 algae mL−1) the copepod Calanus helgolandicus egested faecal pellets with significantly (P < 0.001) reduced densities, a 2.25-fold reduction in sinking rates, and a higher propensity for fragmentation. We further show that microplastics, encapsulated within egests of the copepod Centropages typicus, could be transferred to C. helgolandicus via coprophagy. Our results support the proposal that sinking faecal matter represents a mechanism by which floating plastics can be vertically transported away from surface waters.

pdf Cole, M., P. Lindeque, E. Fileman, C. Halsband and T. S. Galloway (2015). The impact of polystyrene microplastics on feeding, function and fecundity in the marine copepod Calanus helgolandicus. Environ Sci Technol, 49(2): 1130-1137

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Cole-2015-The impact of polystyrene microplast.pdf

Cole, M., P. Lindeque, E. Fileman, C. Halsband and T. S. Galloway (2015). The impact of polystyrene microplastics on feeding, function and fecundity in the marine copepod Calanus helgolandicus. Environ Sci Technol, 49(2): 1130-1137

Microscopic plastic debris, termed “micro-plastics”, are of increasing environmental concern. Recent studies have demonstrated that a range of zooplankton, including copepods, can ingest microplastics. Copepods are a globally abundant class of zooplankton that form a key trophic link between primary producers and higher trophic marine organisms. Here we demonstrate that ingestion of micro- plastics can significantly alter the feeding capacity of the pelagic copepod Calanus helgolandicus. Exposed to 20 μm polystyrene beads (75 microplastics mL−1) and cultured algae ([250 μg C L−1) for 24 h, C. helgolandicus ingested 11% fewer algal cells (P = 0.33) and 40% less carbon biomass (P < 0.01). There was a net downward shift in the mean size of algal prey consumed (P < 0.001), with a 3.6 fold increase in ingestion rate for the smallest size class of algal prey (11.6−12.6 μm), suggestive of postcapture or postingestion rejection. Prolonged exposure to polystyrene microplastics significantly decreased reproductive output, but there were no significant differences in egg production rates, respiration or survival. We constructed a conceptual energetic (carbon) budget showing that microplastic-exposed copepods suffer energetic depletion over time. We conclude that microplastics impede feeding in copepods, which over time could lead to sustained reductions in ingested carbon biomass.

pdf Cole, M., P. Lindeque, E. Fileman, C. Halsband, R. Goodhead, J. Moger and T. S. Galloway (2013). Microplastic ingestion by zooplankton. Environ Sci Technol, 47(12): 6646-6655

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Cole-2013-Microplastic ingestion by zooplankto.pdf

Cole, M., P. Lindeque, E. Fileman, C. Halsband, R. Goodhead, J. Moger and T. S. Galloway (2013). Microplastic ingestion by zooplankton. Environ Sci Technol, 47(12): 6646-6655

Small plastic detritus, termed “microplastics”, are a widespread and ubiquitous contaminant of marine ecosystems across the globe. Ingestion of microplastics by marine biota, including mussels, worms, fish, and seabirds, has been widely reported, but despite their vital ecological role in marine food-webs, the impact of microplastics on zooplankton remains under-researched. Here, we show that microplastics are ingested by, and may impact upon, zooplankton. We used bioimaging techniques to document ingestion, egestion, and adherence of microplastics in a range of zooplankton common to the northeast Atlantic, and employed feeding rate studies to determine the impact of plastic detritus on algal ingestion rates in copepods. Using fluorescence and coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy we identified that thirteen zooplankton taxa had the capacity to ingest 1.7−30.6 μm polystyrene beads, with uptake varying by taxa, life-stage and bead-size. Post-ingestion, copepods egested faecal pellets laden with microplastics. We further observed microplastics adhered to the external carapace and appendages of exposed zooplankton. Exposure of the copepod Centropages typicus to natural assemblages of algae with and without microplastics showed that 7.3 μm microplastics (>4000 mL−1) significantly decreased algal feeding. Our findings imply that marine microplastic debris can negatively impact upon zooplankton function and health.

pdf Day, R. H., D. G. Shaw and S. E. Ignell (1990). The quantitative distribution and characteristics of neuston plastic in the North Pacific Ocean, 1985-88. The Second International Conference on Marine Debris, Honolulu.

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Day-1990-The quantitative distribution and cha.pdf

Day, R. H., D. G. Shaw and S. E. Ignell (1990). The quantitative distribution and characteristics of neuston plastic in the North Pacific Ocean, 1985-88. The Second International Conference on Marine Debris, Honolulu.

The distribution, abundance, and characteristics of neuston plastic in the North Pacific, Bering Sea, and Japan Sea were studied during the 4-yearperiod 1985-88at 203 neuston stations encompassing ca. 91,000m2 of sampling. The highest total density of neuston plastic was 316,800pieces/km2 at lat. 35"59'N, long. 152"OO'E in Transitional Water east of Japan. The highest total concentration of neuston plastic was 3,491.8 g/km2 atlat.40"00'N,long.171'30'E neartheSubarcticFrontinthe central North Pacific. Main types of neuston plastic were miscellaneous line fragments (21.7% of all stations), Styrofoam (12.8%), polypropylene line fragments (7.4%), miscellaneous or unidentified plastic (7.4%), and raw pellets (5.9%). Plastic fragments were recorded at 52.2% of all stations and at 88.3% of those stations with plastic. The highest densities (number per square kilometer) and concentrations (gram per square kilometer) of neuston plastic occurred in Japan Sea/nearshore Japan Water, in Transitional Water, and in Subtropical Water. Densities of neuston plastic in Subarctic Water and Bering Sea Water were low. Heterogeneous geographic input and currents and winds are important in distributing and concentrating neuston plastic. Microscale convergences appear to be important mechanisms that locally concentrate neuston plastic, increasing the probability of its entering food chains.

pdf Dippo, B. (2012). Microplastics in the coastal environment of West Iceland. Faculty of Business and Science, University of Akureyri: 66.

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Dippo-2012-Microplastics in the coastal enviro.pdf

Dippo, B. (2012). Microplastics in the coastal environment of West Iceland. Faculty of Business and Science, University of Akureyri: 66.
Microplastic particles in the marine environment and the effects on wildlife, human and ecosystem health are just beginning to be understood in a global setting. The presence of microplastics particles in West Iceland are evaluated to determine if there is a detectable gradient of decreasing plastic concentrations with increasing distance from the urban centres around Reykjavik. The study region includes sample sites within urban, semi-rural and coastal settings, with 4 sites at each type of location being sa;pled. Microplasitc particles were found at 3 of the urban sites, 2 of teh semi-rural sites, and not detected in any of the rural locations. It is concludded that a decreasing concentration gradient that is based solely on distance travelled from the urbanized area of Reykjavik does not exist due to patchy distributions that could be the result of strong influcences from ocean currents and offshore activities.

pdf do Sul, J. A. I. and M. F. Costa (2014). "The present and future of microplastic pollution in the marine environment." Environmental Pollution 185: 352-364.

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Ivar do Sul-2014-The present and future of mic.pdf

do Sul, J. A. I. and M. F. Costa (2014). "The present and future of microplastic pollution in the marine environment." Environmental Pollution 185: 352-364.
Recently, research examining the occurrence of microplastics in the marine environment has substantially increased. Field and laboratory work regularly provide new evidence on the fate of microplastic debris. This debris has been observed within every marine habitat. In this study, at least 101 peer-reviewed papers investigating microplastic pollution were critically analysed (Supplementary material). Microplastics are commonly studied in relation to (1) plankton samples, (2) sandy and muddy sediments, (3) vertebrate and invertebrate ingestion, and (4) chemical pollutant interactions. All of the marine organism groups are at an eminent risk of interacting with microplastics according to the available literature. Dozens of works on other relevant issues (i.e., polymer decay at sea, new sampling and laboratory methods, emerging sources, externalities) were also analysed and discussed. This paper provides the first in-depth exploration of the effects of microplastics on the marine environment and biota. The number of scientific publications will increase in response to present and projected plastic uses and discard patterns. Therefore, new themes and important approaches for future work are proposed.

pdf Dris et al. (2016). Synthetic fibers in atmospheric fallout: A source of microplastics in the environment?

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Dris-2016-Synthetic fibers in atmospheric fall.pdf

Dris et al. (2016). Synthetic fibers in atmospheric fallout: A source of microplastics in the environment?

Sources, pathways and reservoirs of microplastics, plastic particles smaller than 5 mm, remain poorly documented in an urban context. While some studies pointed out wastewater treatment plants as a potential pathway of microplastics, none have focused on the atmospheric compartment. In this work, the atmospheric fallout of microplastics was investigated in two different urban and sub-urban sites. Microplastics were collected continu- ously with a stainless steel funnel. Samples were then filtered and observed with a stereomicroscope. Fibers accounted for almost all the microplastics collected. An atmospheric fallout between 2 and 355 particles/m2/ day was highlighted. Registered fluxes were systematically higher at the urban than at the sub-urban site. Chemical characterization allowed to estimate at 29% the proportion of these fibers being all synthetic (made with petrochemicals), or a mixture of natural and synthetic material. Extrapolation using weight and volume estimates of the collected fibers, allowed a rough estimation showing that between 3 and 10 tons of fibers are deposited by atmospheric fallout at the scale of the Parisian agglomeration every year (2500 km2). These results could serve the scientific community working on the different sources of microplastic in both continental and marine environments.

pdf Dris, R., J. Gasperi, C. Mirande, C. Mandin, M. Guerrouache, V. Langlois and B. Tassin (2017). A first overview of textile fibers, including microplastics, in indoor and outdoor environments. Environ Pollut, 221: 453-458

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Dris-2017-A first overview of textile fibers.pdf

Dris, R., J. Gasperi, C. Mirande, C. Mandin, M. Guerrouache, V. Langlois and B. Tassin (2017). A first overview of textile fibers, including microplastics, in indoor and outdoor environments. Environ Pollut, 221: 453-458

Sources, pathways and reservoirs of microplastics, plastic particles smaller than 5 mm, remain poorly document- ed in an urban context. While some studies pointed out wastewater treatment plants as a potential pathway of microplastics, none have focused on the atmospheric compartment. In this work, the atmospheric fallout of microplastics was investigated in two different urban and sub-urban sites. Microplastics were collected continu- ously with a stainless steel funnel. Samples were then filtered and observed with a stereomicroscope. Fibers accounted for almost all the microplastics collected. An atmospheric fallout between 2 and 355 particles/m2/ day was highlighted. Registered fluxes were systematically higher at the urban than at the sub-urban site. Chem- ical characterization allowed to estimate at 29% the proportion of these fibers being all synthetic (made with pet- rochemicals), or a mixture of natural and synthetic material. Extrapolation using weight and volume estimates of the collected fibers, allowed a rough estimation showing that between 3 and 10 tons of fibers are deposited by atmospheric fallout at the scale of the Parisian agglomeration every year (2500 km2). These results could serve the scientific community working on the different sources of microplastic in both continental and marine environments.

pdf Galloway, T. S., M. Cole and C. Lewis (2017). Interactions of microplastic debris throughout the marine ecosystem. Nat Ecol Evol, 1(5): 116

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Galloway-2017-Interactions of microplastic deb.pdf

Galloway, T. S., M. Cole and C. Lewis (2017). Interactions of microplastic debris throughout the marine ecosystem. Nat Ecol Evol, 1(5): 116

Marine microscopic plastic (microplastic) debris is a modern societal issue, illustrating the challenge of balancing the con­ venience of plastic in daily life with the prospect of causing ecological harm by careless disposal. Here we develop the con­ cept of microplastic as a complex, dynamic mixture of polymers and additives, to which organic material and contaminants can successively bind to form an ‘ecocorona’, increasing the density and surface charge of particles and changing their bio­ availability and toxicity. Chronic exposure to microplastic is rarely lethal, but can adversely affect individual animals, reducing feeding and depleting energy stores, with knock-on effects for fecundity and growth. We explore the extent to which ecological processes could be impacted, including altered behaviours, bioturbation and impacts on carbon flux to the deep ocean. We discuss how microplastic compares with other anthropogenic pollutants in terms of ecological risk, and consider the role of science and society in tackling this global issue in the future.

pdf Halsband, C. and D. Herzke (2017). Marine Plastics and Microplastics. In: AMAP Assessment 2016: Chemicals of Emerging Arctic Concern. Oslo, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP): 269-275.

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Halsband-2017-Marine Plastics and Microplastic.pdf

Halsband, C. and D. Herzke (2017). Marine Plastics and Microplastics. In: AMAP Assessment 2016: Chemicals of Emerging Arctic Concern. Oslo, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP): 269-275.

This section reviews the state of knowledge to late-2015 concerning microplastic in the Arctic. Marine litter and especially plastic debris in the oceans has emerged as a major environmental concern worldwide and is recognized as a threat to marine ecosystems due to the vast amounts involved (Jambeck et al., 2015). Plastics are man-made materials comprising a wide range of organic polymers. They are semi- persistent and known to break down from macroplastic particles (>5 mm in size) to smaller plastic particles through exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light and physical abrasion, but total degradation is slow (Gewert et al., 2015). Most of the plastic material floating in the world’s oceans is microplastic debris (<5 mm) (Cózar et al., 2014; Law et al., 2014b). Plastics are released into the environment during industrial activities such as commercial fishing, use of plastic abrasives, and spillage of plastic pellets, but also from domestic applications such as washing of plastic microfiber clothes, use of personal care products containing microplastics (e.g. toothpaste and exfoliators) and municipal wastewater.

pdf Herzke, D., et al. (2016). "Negligible impact of ingested microplastics on tissue concentrations of persistent organic pollutants in northern fulmars off coastal Norway." Environmental science & technology 50(4): 1924-1933.

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Herzke-2016-Negligible Impact of Ingested Micr.pdf

Herzke, D., et al. (2016). "Negligible impact of ingested microplastics on tissue concentrations of persistent organic pollutants in northern fulmars off coastal Norway." Environmental science & technology 50(4): 1924-1933.
The northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) is defined as an indicator species of plastic pollution by the Oslo-Paris Convention for the North-East Atlantic, but few data exist for fulmars from Norway. Moreover, the relationship between uptake of plastic and pollutants in seabirds is poorly understood. We analyzed samples of fulmars from Norwegian waters and compared the POP concentrations in their liver and muscle tissue with the corresponding concentrations in the loads of ingested plastic in their stomachs, grouped as “no”, “medium” (0.01–0.21 g; 1–14 pieces of plastic), or “high” (0.11–0.59 g; 15–106 pieces of plastic). POP concentrations in the plastic did not differ significantly between the high and medium plastic ingestion group for sumPCBs, sumDDTs, and sumPBDEs. By combining correlations among POP concentrations, differences in tissue concentrations of POPs between plastic ingestion subgroups, fugacity calculations, and bioaccumulation modeling, we showed that plastic is more likely to act as a passive sampler than as a vector of POPs, thus reflecting the POP profiles of simultaneously ingested prey.

pdf Kanhai, L. D. K., K. Gårdfeldt, O. Lyashevska, M. Hassellöv, R. C. Thompson and I. O'Connor (2018). Microplastics in sub-surface waters of the Arctic Central Basin. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 130: 8-18

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Kanhai-2018-Microplastics in sub-surface water.pdf

Kanhai, L. D. K., K. Gårdfeldt, O. Lyashevska, M. Hassellöv, R. C. Thompson and I. O'Connor (2018). Microplastics in sub-surface waters of the Arctic Central Basin. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 130: 8-18

Polar oceans, though remote in location, are not immune to the accumulation of plastic debris. The present study, investigated for the first time, the abundance, distribution and composition of microplastics in sub-surface waters of the Arctic Central Basin. Microplastic sampling was carried out using the bow water system of icebreaker Oden (single depth: 8.5 m) and CTD rosette sampler (multiple depths: 8–4369 m). Potential micro-plastics were isolated and analysed using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR). Bow water sampling revealed that the median microplastic abundance in near surface waters of the Polar Mixed Layer (PML) was 0.7 particles m−3. Regarding the vertical distribution of microplastics in the ACB, microplastic abundance (particles m−3) in the different water masses was as follows: Polar Mixed Layer (0–375) > Deep and bottom. Regarding the vertical distribution of microplastics in the ACB, microplastic abundance waters (0–104) > Atlantic water (0–95) > Halocline i.e. Atlantic or Pacific (0–83).

pdf Lohmann, R. (2017). Microplastics are not important for the cycling and bioaccumulation of organic pollutants in the oceans-but should microplastics be considered POPs themselves? Integr Environ Assess Manag, 13(3): 460-465

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Lohmann-2017-Microplastics are not important f.pdf

Lohmann, R. (2017). Microplastics are not important for the cycling and bioaccumulation of organic pollutants in the oceans-but should microplastics be considered POPs themselves? Integr Environ Assess Manag, 13(3): 460-465

The role of microplastic particles in the cycling and bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is discussed. Five common concepts, sometimes misconceptions, about the role of microplastics are reviewed. While there is ample evidence that microplastics accumulate high concentrations of POPs, this does not result in microplastics being important for the global dispersion of POPs. Similarly, there is scant evidence that microplastics are an important transfer vector of POPs into animals, but possibly for plastic additives (flame retardants). Last, listing microplastics as POPs could help reduce their environmental impact.