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Origin of micro-plastics in the ocean remains unknown - Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

Published: 30 March 2016

According to a government decision in August 2015 received the Environmental Protection Agency to identify and propose measures regarding emissions of micro-plastics in the ocean from sources in Sweden. Report from The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has commissioned IVL to investigate the matter and in the beginning of March 2016, a Report; Swedish sources and pathways for micro plastics to the marine environment that deals with current knowledge and data.

One can not yet calculate the proportion of micro plastics from the investigated sources which ends up in the sea, because access to the data is limited. Hulls, other floating devices, and fishing are major sources of emissions of micro plastics directly into the sea. When it comes to micro-plastics from households via sewer networks to the sea is good access to the data, but the vast majority of the particles remain in the wastewater treatment plants.

Significant amounts of emissions of micro-plastics in the country comes from the wear and tear of road surfaces and tires, followed by the release of micro plastics from artificial turf. However, no estimates have been made of how much of this ends up in the sea.

As regards waste management, recycling and littering is no data to calculate emissions of micro plastics to the sea, however, assume IVL to dealing with large quantities.

The report notes that more reliable data are needed, especially with regard to littering and waste management as well as on land and sjöbaserat construction and maintenance work. It also stresses the importance of investigating surface water and its role in the micro-plastic way from most sources to the sea.