GESAMP 37 – agenda item 7.2/2
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GESAMP 37 – agenda item 7.2/2 Correspondence group on micro-plastics as a vector in transporting persistent, bioaccumulating and toxic substances in the marine environment. Why is this justified? -- microplastics are widespread

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GESAMP 37 – agenda item 7.2/2

Correspondence group on micro-plastics as a vector in transporting persistent, bioaccumulating and toxic substances in the marine environment


Why is this justified?

-- microplastics are widespread

-- composition and size highly variable (primary & secondary types)

-- they can be ingested by biota

-- they absorb PBTs

-- they are very persistent

-- overall environmental impact is unknown

-- relevance to developing policy unclear


Primary & secondary microplastic particles

  • - feedstock for plastics industry

  • - abrasives

Debris necklace

http://www.tuat.ac.jp

http://www.new-mag.com/events/081014_lavignes/pdf/Narhinen_NEW4.pdf


Microplastics in coastal and oceanic waters

shoreline

CPR

NE Atlantic

Tamar Estuary

Browne et al., 2007


International Pellet Watch

http://www.tuat.ac.jp


Proposed overall objective:

To undertake a scientific review of the occurrence and potential impact of microplastics and associated PBTs in the marine environment,

Actions:

Organise a workshop to be hosted by UNESCO-IOC in Paris (provisional date – last week of June 2010)

- Review current knowledge - taking account of recent international initiatives (UNEP, IOC, NOAA, FAO)

- Develop terms of reference for a working group


Potential Terms of Reference

To include the following topics:

Sources & occurrence (database)

Type & size, chemical/physical properties – primary & secondary particles

Environmental behaviour: i) transport, ii) vector for PBTs

Toxicity – intrinsic & absorbed contaminants

Transfer to & metabolism in biota, incl. bioavailability & biomagnification

Analytical methods & data evaluation

Gaps in knowledge & recommendations for future research


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