PFPW.NEWS – April 30, 2020

~   Plastic Waste – Nestlé to Co-Fund Sustainable Materials Research
~   Effects of Micro- and Nano-Plastics on Marine Animals
~   Microplastics – Transport and Burial in Deep-Marine Sediments
~   Microplastics Disrupt Survival Behavior in Hermit Crabs
~   Microplastic Particles found in East Antarctic Sea Ice

Plastic Waste – Nestlé to Co-Fund Sustainable Materials Research – According to an April 29, 2020 New Food Magazine story  “… Nestle and other industry partners … [have] committed to provide CHF 5 million over 10 years to sustainable materials R&D … at the EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland …” – The funding will support a new chair for sustainable materials and research to “… focus on the development of sustainable materials such as alternative packaging to enable the reduction of plastic waste … Research … will address … the overall environmental impact of materials and the exploration of bio-based, bio-degradable and recyclable materials, including high-performance paper-based barrier materials …” #PlasticWaste #Recycling #FoodPackaging #Nestle #SingleUsePlastic

Effects of Micro- and Nano-Plastics on Marine Animals – According to an April 27, 2020 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) news release  “… Plastic debris is one of the most serious environmental challenges our oceans face … “ – A group of scientists led by the IAEA published a review article on March 23, 2020  showing that in one third of all studies assessed, virgin plastic particles affect “… biological functions in fish, such as their behavior and neurological functions, as well as their metabolism, intestinal permeability and intestinal microbiome diversity … Microplastic particles are accidentally consumed by marine organisms, which are then consumed by predator fish. Nanoplastic particles are even more toxic to living organisms as they are more likely to be absorbed through the walls of digestive tracts and thereby transported into the tissues and organs … it is important to distinguish the toxicity of plastic particles per se from the toxicity associated with the contaminants that can become attached to them …” #MicroPlastic NanoPlastic #PlasticWaste #PlasticPackaging #SingleUsePlastic #IAEA

Microplastics – Transport and Burial in Deep-Marine Sediments – According to a March 6, 2020 Environmental Science & Technology article by researchers with Durham University, Durham UK; Utrecht University, The Netherlands; University of Manchester, UK; and National Oceanography Centre, Southampton UK “… The threat posed by plastic pollution to marine ecosystems and human health is under increasing scrutiny. Much of the macro- and microplastic in the ocean ends up on the seafloor, with some of the highest concentrations reported in submarine canyons … Gravity-driven avalanches, known as turbidity currents, are the primary process for delivering terrestrial sediment and organic carbon to the deep sea through submarine canyons … Our results suggest that turbidity currents potentially distribute and bury large quantities of microplastics in seafloor sediments …” #MicroPlastics #SingleUsePlastic #PlasticWaste

Microplastics Disrupt Survival Behavior in Hermit Crabs – According to an article, titled “Microplastics Disrupt Hermit Crab Shell Selection” by researchers with Queen’s University in Belfast, UK published April 29, 2020 in the journal Biology Letters  “… Microplastics (plastics < 5 mm) are a potential threat to marine biodiversity. However, the effects of microplastic pollution on animal behaviour and cognition are poorly understood. We used shell selection in common European hermit crabs (Pagurus bernhardus) as a model to test whether microplastic exposure impacts the essential survival behaviours of contacting, investigating and entering an optimal shell …Plastic-exposed hermit crabs showed impaired shell selection: they were less likely than controls to contact optimal shells or enter them. They also took longer to contact and enter the optimal shell. Plastic exposure did not affect time spent investigating the optimal shell. These results indicate that microplastics impair cognition (information-gathering and processing), disrupting an essential survival behaviour in hermit crabs …” #MicroPlastic #PlasticWaste #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic #HermitCrabs

Microplastic Particles found in East Antarctic Sea Ice – According an article published in the May 2020 issue of Marine Pollution Bulletin by researchers from Tasmania, Australia “… The durability of plastics in the marine environment has led to concerns regarding the pervasiveness of this debris in remote polar habitats. Microplastic (MP) enrichment in East Antarctic sea ice was measured in one ice core sampled from coastal land-fast sea ice … 96 MP particles were identified … The most common MP polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyamide) were consistent with those most frequently represented in the majority of marine MP studies. Sea-ice MP concentrations were positively related with chlorophyll a, suggesting living biomass could assist in incorporating MPs in sea ice. Our preliminary results indicate that sea ice has the potential to serve as a reservoir for MP debris in the Southern Ocean, which may have consequences for Southern Ocean food webs and biogeochemistry …” #MicroPlastic #PlasticWaste #FoodPackaging #SingleUsePlastic