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Breaking News microplastics can be moved from the ocean  is it harming us  | Breaking News

Microplastics Can Be Moved From The Ocean: Is It Harming Us?

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by: Julia Elisabeth
microplastics can be moved from the ocean  is it harming us  | Breaking News

We Know Plastic Is Harming Marine Life. What About Us? There often are tiny bits of plastic in the fish and shellfish we eat. Scientists are racing to figure out what that means for our health. In a laboratory at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, New York, a reseracher positions a slide under a microscope and flicks on an ultraviolet light. Scrutinizing the liquefied digestive tract of a shrimp the scientist bought at a fish market. After examining every millimeter of the slide, the scientist blurts; This shrimp is fiber city! Inside its gut, seven squiggles of plastic, dyed with Nile red stain, fluoresce.

Microplastics ingested by a green water flea
Microplastics ingested by a water flea that’s three millimeters long glow green. In a lab, fleas were exposed to round beads and irregularly shaped fragments in amounts higher than in nature. The irregular pieces pose a greater threat because they can clump and get stuck in the gut.

Microplastics, Reserach And A Solution To Remove It

All over the world, researchers staring through microscopes at tiny pieces of plastic—fibers, fragments, or microbeads—that have made their way into marine and freshwater species, both wild caught and farmed. Scientists have found microplastics in 114 aquatic species, and more than half of those end up on our dinner plates. Now they are trying to determine what that means for human health.

Do Microplastics degrade?
However, if they are not properly disposed of or recycled, they can persist for long periods in the environment and can also degrade into small pieces that are of concern – microplastics. Microplastics can also be deliberately manufactured and intentionally added to products.

So far science lacks evidence that microplastics—pieces smaller than one-fifth of an inch—are affecting fish at the population level. Our food supply doesn’t seem to be under threat—at least as far as we know. But enough research has been done now to show that the fish and shellfish we enjoy are suffering from the omnipresence of this plastic. Every year five million to 14 million tons flow into our oceans from coastal areas. Sunlight, wind, waves, and heat break down that material into smaller bits that look - to plankton, bivalves, fish, and even whales - a lot like food.

Microplastics Can Be Moved From The Ocean: Fionn Ferreira

A teen from Ireland may have found the solution to rid world's oceans from the microplastics that are near impossible to remove. Fionn Ferreira, 18, designed a new method for the extraction of microplastics, or particles of plastic less than 5 millimeters in diameter, as part of the Google Science Fair, an online competition open to students between the ages of 13 and 18.



                         An investigation into the removal of microplastics from water using ferro fluids
                                  Microplastics Can Be Moved From The Ocean: Is It Harming Us?

 

The procedure, inspired by an article written by physicist Arden Warner, involves using non-toxic iron oxide to clean up oil spills, according to Ferreira's project study. When he tested the method on water containing a known concentration of microplastics, the plastic particles migrated into the oil phase, and the fluid was able to be removed using strong magnets, he wrote in his project synopsis.
He first produced microplastics to remove from the water and then extracted them using his method. Ten of the most common microplastics were used for the experiment. Ferreira concluded that his extraction method would remove 85% to 92% of microplastics in samples. The next step would be to scale the project up to an industrial level, he said. "From this I can conclude that using magnetite with a minimum of oil forms a viable method for the extraction of microplastics," he wrote.

Recommended: Boyan Slat Ocean Cleanup: Restart Plastic Soup Collection

Microplastics Damage Aquatic Creatures

Experiments show that microplastics damage aquatic creatures, as well as turtles and birds: They block digestive tracts, diminish the urge to eat, and alter feeding behaviour, all of which reduce growth and reproductive output. Their stomachs stuffed with plastic, some species starve and die.

In addition to mechanical effects, microplastics have chemical impacts, because free-floating pollutants that wash off the land and into our seas—such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and heavy metals—tend to adhere to their surfaces.

Micro plastics in fingertip

Marine Organisms Are Harmed By Plastics 

A professor of ecology at the University of Toronto, soaked ground-up polyethylene, which is used to make some types of plastic bags, in San Diego Bay for three months. She then offered this contaminated plastic, along with a laboratory diet, to Japanese medakas, small fish commonly used for research, for two months. The fish that had ingested the treated plastic suffered more liver damage than those that had consumed virgin plastic.

Fish and Seafood
The oceans now contain a significant amount of microplastics that are invisible to the human eye. This plastic has been found in just about all fish and seafood. Fish have been shown to mistake plastic for food and accidentally eat it.

(Fish with compromised livers are less able to metabolize drugs, pesticides, and other pollutants.) Another experiment demonstrated that oysters exposed to tiny pieces of polystyrene - the stuff of take-out food containers - produce fewer eggs and less motile sperm. The list of freshwater and marine organisms that are harmed by plastics stretches to hundreds of species.

Microplastics Harming Us

It's difficult to parse whether microplastics affect us as individual consumers of seafood, because we’re steeped in this material—from the air we breathe to both the tap and bottled water we drink, the food we eat, and the clothing we wear. Moreover, plastic isn’t one thing. It comes in many forms and contains a wide range of additives—pigments, ultraviolet stabilizers, water repellents, flame retardants, stiffeners such as bisphenol A (BPA), and softeners called phthalates—that can leach into their surroundings.

What everyday items contain plastic? Surprising Items That Contain Plastic!
Chewing Gum. It's hard to believe, but chewing gum is made of plastic
Clothing
Disposable Coffee Cups
Drink Cans
Glass Jars with Lids
Glitter
PLAs and Corn-Based Biodegradable Packaging
Produce Stickers
Tea Bags
Tetra Paks
Tin/Aluminium Cans

Studying the impacts of marine microplastics on human health is challenging because people can’t be asked to eat plastics for experiments, because plastics and their additives act differently depending on physical and chemical contexts, and because their characteristics may change as creatures along the food chain consume, metabolize, or excrete them. We know virtually nothing about how food processing or cooking affects the toxicity of plastics in aquatic organisms or what level of contamination might hurt us.

Fionn Ferreira

Now Fionn Ferreira has found a solution to remove microplastic from water. By winning the Google science fair's grand prize - a $50,000 scholarship fund - allowed him to meet several scientists and engineers associated with Google. Ferreira was inspired to launch the project after growing up near the shore in West Cork, Ireland, where he became "increasingly aware of plastic pollution of the oceans," he said.

Fionn Ferreira with Google science fair's price

"I was alarmed to find out how many microplastics enter our (wastewater) system and consequently the oceans," he wrote. "This inspired me to try and find out a way to try and remove microplastics from water before they even reached the sea."

Because he lives in such a remote area, he had to build his own equipment and lab to conduct tests and experiments, he said. On his website, Ferreria describes himself as not only a scientist but a musician, gardener, educator, entrepreneur and innovator.

Scientists have found microplastics in the furthest reaches of the ocean, from the deepest waters of the Mariana Trench to the Arctic and Antarctic, and the entire marine ecosystem is contaminated, researchers say. Plastic typically ends up in oceans through rivers after it is washed down drains by rainwater or blown by wind into bodies of water that flow into rivers and ultimately into the ocean.

Recommended: Bioplastic From Fish Scale And Skin Composts Quickly: UK

Since it is extremely difficult to remove plastic - especially microplastics - from open ocean water, experts have leaned toward prevention - such as transforming industry standards, consumer habits and beach clean-ups - as the solution to mitigate the snowballing amount of plastic dumped into the ocean each.

Ferreria's method may provide environmentalists a way to clean wastewater of the tiniest particles of plastics that never break down and remain in the water indefinitely. Ferreira said it is "essential to find efficient and effective ways of extracting microplastics from waste waters" before they reach the oceans.

"There is no doubt that the most effective way to reduce microplastic pollution in oceans is to use less plastics and ensure that plastics used can be recycled and separated to prevent them from entering our wastewater, but the reality is that more and more of the products we use contain plastics and potentially degrade into microplastics before entering our wastewater," he said.

Before you go!

Recommended: Combing Plastic Waste Out Oceans: Competition For Boyan Slat

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In our world, WhatsOrb refuses to turn away from the changes in our society and environment which succeeds each other at a rapid pace.

For WhatsOrb, publishing on the environment is a priority. We give reporting on climate, nature, waste, lifestyle and sustainable solutions the prominence it deserves.

At this turbulent time for ‘all’ species and our planet, we are determined to inform readers about threats, consequences and solutions based on facts, not on political prejudice or business interests.

WhatsOrb Breaking News will be published as soon as urgent events from around the world and startling sustainable innovations reach us.

If there is anything we should know and publish about, please send a note to: [email protected] or write your own story on: www.whatsorb.comthe only news site which gives you a ‘sustainable voice!’

profileimage

Breaking News, as the world changes…

In our world, WhatsOrb refuses to turn away from the changes in our society and environment which succeeds each other at a rapid pace.

For WhatsOrb, publishing on the environment is a priority. We give reporting on climate, nature, waste, lifestyle and sustainable solutions the prominence it deserves.

At this turbulent time for ‘all’ species and our planet, we are determined to inform readers about threats, consequences and solutions based on facts, not on political prejudice or business interests.

WhatsOrb Breaking News will be published as soon as urgent events from around the world and startling sustainable innovations reach us.

If there is anything we should know and publish about, please send a note to: [email protected]tsorb.com or write your own story on: www.whatsorb.comthe only news site which gives you a ‘sustainable voice!’

Microplastics Can Be Moved From The Ocean: Is It Harming Us?

We Know Plastic Is Harming Marine Life. What About Us? There often are tiny bits of plastic in the fish and shellfish we eat. Scientists are racing to figure out what that means for our health. In a laboratory at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, New York, a reseracher positions a slide under a microscope and flicks on an ultraviolet light. Scrutinizing the liquefied digestive tract of a shrimp the scientist bought at a fish market. After examining every millimeter of the slide, the scientist blurts; This shrimp is fiber city! Inside its gut, seven squiggles of plastic, dyed with Nile red stain, fluoresce. Microplastics ingested by a water flea that’s three millimeters long glow green. In a lab, fleas were exposed to round beads and irregularly shaped fragments in amounts higher than in nature. The irregular pieces pose a greater threat because they can clump and get stuck in the gut. Microplastics, Reserach And A Solution To Remove It All over the world, researchers staring through microscopes at tiny pieces of plastic—fibers, fragments, or microbeads—that have made their way into marine and freshwater species, both wild caught and farmed. Scientists have found microplastics in 114 aquatic species, and more than half of those end up on our dinner plates. Now they are trying to determine what that means for human health. Do Microplastics degrade? However, if they are not properly disposed of or recycled, they can persist for long periods in the environment and can also degrade into small pieces that are of concern – microplastics. Microplastics can also be deliberately manufactured and intentionally added to products. So far science lacks evidence that microplastics—pieces smaller than one-fifth of an inch—are affecting fish at the population level. Our food supply doesn’t seem to be under threat—at least as far as we know. But enough research has been done now to show that the fish and shellfish we enjoy are suffering from the omnipresence of this plastic. Every year five million to 14 million tons flow into our oceans from coastal areas. Sunlight, wind, waves, and heat break down that material into smaller bits that look - to plankton, bivalves, fish, and even whales - a lot like food. Microplastics Can Be Moved From The Ocean: Fionn Ferreira A teen from Ireland may have found the solution to rid world's oceans from the microplastics that are near impossible to remove. Fionn Ferreira, 18, designed a new method for the extraction of microplastics, or particles of plastic less than 5 millimeters in diameter, as part of the Google Science Fair, an online competition open to students between the ages of 13 and 18. {youtube}                          An investigation into the removal of microplastics from water using ferro fluids                                   Microplastics Can Be Moved From The Ocean: Is It Harming Us?   The procedure, inspired by an article written by physicist Arden Warner, involves using non-toxic iron oxide to clean up oil spills, according to Ferreira's project study. When he tested the method on water containing a known concentration of microplastics, the plastic particles migrated into the oil phase, and the fluid was able to be removed using strong magnets, he wrote in his project synopsis. He first produced microplastics to remove from the water and then extracted them using his method. Ten of the most common microplastics were used for the experiment. Ferreira concluded that his extraction method would remove 85% to 92% of microplastics in samples. The next step would be to scale the project up to an industrial level, he said. "From this I can conclude that using magnetite with a minimum of oil forms a viable method for the extraction of microplastics," he wrote. Recommended:  Boyan Slat Ocean Cleanup: Restart Plastic Soup Collection Microplastics Damage Aquatic Creatures Experiments show that microplastics damage aquatic creatures, as well as turtles and birds: They block digestive tracts, diminish the urge to eat, and alter feeding behaviour, all of which reduce growth and reproductive output. Their stomachs stuffed with plastic, some species starve and die. In addition to mechanical effects, microplastics have chemical impacts, because free-floating pollutants that wash off the land and into our seas—such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and heavy metals—tend to adhere to their surfaces. Marine Organisms Are Harmed By Plastics  A professor of ecology at the University of Toronto, soaked ground-up polyethylene, which is used to make some types of plastic bags, in San Diego Bay for three months. She then offered this contaminated plastic, along with a laboratory diet, to Japanese medakas, small fish commonly used for research, for two months. The fish that had ingested the treated plastic suffered more liver damage than those that had consumed virgin plastic. Fish and Seafood The oceans now contain a significant amount of microplastics that are invisible to the human eye. This plastic has been found in just about all fish and seafood. Fish have been shown to mistake plastic for food and accidentally eat it. (Fish with compromised livers are less able to metabolize drugs, pesticides, and other pollutants.) Another experiment demonstrated that oysters exposed to tiny pieces of polystyrene - the stuff of take-out food containers - produce fewer eggs and less motile sperm. The list of freshwater and marine organisms that are harmed by plastics stretches to hundreds of species. Microplastics Harming Us It's difficult to parse whether microplastics affect us as individual consumers of seafood, because we’re steeped in this material—from the air we breathe to both the tap and bottled water we drink, the food we eat, and the clothing we wear. Moreover, plastic isn’t one thing. It comes in many forms and contains a wide range of additives—pigments, ultraviolet stabilizers, water repellents, flame retardants, stiffeners such as bisphenol A (BPA), and softeners called phthalates—that can leach into their surroundings. What everyday items contain plastic? Surprising Items That Contain Plastic! Chewing Gum. It's hard to believe, but chewing gum is made of plastic Clothing Disposable Coffee Cups Drink Cans Glass Jars with Lids Glitter PLAs and Corn-Based Biodegradable Packaging Produce Stickers Tea Bags Tetra Paks Tin/Aluminium Cans Studying the impacts of marine microplastics on human health is challenging because people can’t be asked to eat plastics for experiments, because plastics and their additives act differently depending on physical and chemical contexts, and because their characteristics may change as creatures along the food chain consume, metabolize, or excrete them. We know virtually nothing about how food processing or cooking affects the toxicity of plastics in aquatic organisms or what level of contamination might hurt us. Fionn Ferreira Now Fionn Ferreira has found a solution to remove microplastic from water. By winning the Google science fair's grand prize - a $50,000 scholarship fund - allowed him to meet several scientists and engineers associated with Google. Ferreira was inspired to launch the project after growing up near the shore in West Cork, Ireland, where he became "increasingly aware of plastic pollution of the oceans," he said. "I was alarmed to find out how many microplastics enter our (wastewater) system and consequently the oceans," he wrote. "This inspired me to try and find out a way to try and remove microplastics from water before they even reached the sea." Because he lives in such a remote area, he had to build his own equipment and lab to conduct tests and experiments, he said. On his website, Ferreria describes himself as not only a scientist but a musician, gardener, educator, entrepreneur and innovator. Scientists have found microplastics in the furthest reaches of the ocean, from the deepest waters of the Mariana Trench to the Arctic and Antarctic, and the entire marine ecosystem is contaminated, researchers say. Plastic typically ends up in oceans through rivers after it is washed down drains by rainwater or blown by wind into bodies of water that flow into rivers and ultimately into the ocean. Recommended:  Bioplastic From Fish Scale And Skin Composts Quickly: UK Since it is extremely difficult to remove plastic - especially microplastics - from open ocean water, experts have leaned toward prevention - such as transforming industry standards, consumer habits and beach clean-ups - as the solution to mitigate the snowballing amount of plastic dumped into the ocean each. Ferreria's method may provide environmentalists a way to clean wastewater of the tiniest particles of plastics that never break down and remain in the water indefinitely. Ferreira said it is "essential to find efficient and effective ways of extracting microplastics from waste waters" before they reach the oceans. "There is no doubt that the most effective way to reduce microplastic pollution in oceans is to use less plastics and ensure that plastics used can be recycled and separated to prevent them from entering our wastewater, but the reality is that more and more of the products we use contain plastics and potentially degrade into microplastics before entering our wastewater," he said. Before you go! Recommended:  Combing Plastic Waste Out Oceans: Competition For Boyan Slat Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
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