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US News Microplastics shed from tyres are a major source of river and ocean pollution, UK government-backed study finds

07:45  29 may  2020
07:45  29 may  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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UK government - backed study finds . Experts found that this places around 38.5 square miles of the UK 's rivers and 19.3 square miles of The findings may help the UK further reduce its contribution to microplastic pollution — from tyres as well as other sources like clothing items and marine gear.

Contamination found across UK lakes and rivers , in US groundwater, along the Yantze river and Spanish coast, and harbouring dangerous bacteria in Microplastics are shed by synthetic clothing, vehicle tyres and the spillage of plastic pellets used by manufacturers. The physical breakdown of

(Video by Sky News)

Microplastics shed from vehicle tyres are a major source of ocean and river pollution, a UK government-backed study has concluded. 

Microplastic pollution has been found in marine environments all across the globe — from the deepest parts of the oceans to the Arctic ocean. 

The tiny particles of plastic have previously been identified as coming from the break-down of items like carrier bags and bottles, as well as cosmetics microbeads. 

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Microplastics from tyres and textiles are a bigger source of marine pollution than the breakdown of larger plastic waste in some areas, says the IUCN. Up to 30% of plastic released into the oceans each year comes from primary microplastics , not the disintegration of larger pieces, a report found .

Microplastics are known to cause ocean pollution , but a new study suggests airborne plastic particles pollute the air and dry land as well. “At this point there is a lot of knowledge about oceans as a driver of microplastic pollution , which is creating some backlash against plastics,” Mr. Allen said.

However, research has revealed the significant contribution of tyre particles, which can reach the ocean directly via the atmosphere, or in run-off, rivers and sewers.

a close up of a pond: Microplastics shed from vehicle tyres are a major source of ocean and river pollution, a UK government-backed study has concluded © Provided by Daily Mail Microplastics shed from vehicle tyres are a major source of ocean and river pollution, a UK government-backed study has concluded

Experts found that this places around 38.5 square miles of the UK's rivers and 19.3 square miles of estuarine and coastal waters at risk of tyre-derived microplastics.

The findings may help the UK further reduce its contribution to microplastic pollution — from tyres as well as other sources like clothing items and marine gear.

'Scientists have long suspected that tyre debris is posing a hidden threat to the marine environment,' said marine biologist Richard Thompson of the University of Plymouth.

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Louisa Casson, an oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK , said: “Ghost gear is a major source of ocean plastic pollution and it affects marine The world’s governments must take action to protect our global oceans , and hold the under-regulated fishing industry to account for its dangerous waste.

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'Now we have a clearer indication on quantities we need to gain a better understanding on transport in the environment and the potential impacts.'

Gallery: Plastic pollution in our oceans (Photo Services) 

'However there are still many unknowns, and compared to other forms of microplastics we know relatively little about tyre wear particles.'

'So it is important to continue to take steps to reduce emissions of better understood sources like fibres from textiles and the fragmentation of larger items.'

'What this study also does is provide further evidence of the complex problems posed by microplastic pollution,' Professor Thompson added.

'As we work to understand their potential distribution and impacts it is important to also work together with industry and policy makers to identify potential solutions.'

Discarded truck tire thrown into a small stream along the road in a beautiful forest. Discarded truck tire thrown into a small stream along the road in a beautiful forest.

These, he added, 'may include changes in behaviour, changes in product design and waste management.'

The study — which also looked at pollution coming from fabrics and maritime fear — identified places where interventions might most successfully be implemented.

For example, the team pointed to recent research undertaken at Plymouth that revealed that normal wear and tear of clothes is just a significant source of microplastic release as that which results from laundering.

Given this, fitting filters to washing machines to catch plastic particles might be less effective overall than changing fabric designs in order to minimise fibre losses.

Tires on the tropical sandy beach as pollution concept Tires on the tropical sandy beach as pollution concept

'Reducing plastic pollution in the ocean is one of the greatest environmental challenges that we face,' said UK Domestic Marine Minister, Rebecca Pow.

'This study will help us face that challenge by identifying areas for future research, such as changes to roadside drainage and textile design.'

'The UK is at the forefront of a global fight against the scourge of plastics,' she added.

'In addition to the pioneering ban on microbeads and the 5p plastic bag charge, plans are also in place to end the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds.'

The full findings of the study were published on the Defra research and development website.

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