Scientist warn against new type of marine plastic pollution

Deborah Williams 20 August 2019 (Last Updated August 20th, 2019 12:56)

Particles of marine plastic pollution resembling pebbles have been found to be washing up on the UK shores, according to a Science of The Total Environment report.

Scientist warn against new type of marine plastic pollution
Scientist warn against new type of marine plastic pollution. Credit: Science of The Total Environment. Credit: Science of The Total Environment

Particles of marine plastic pollution resembling pebbles have been found to be washing up on the UK shores, according to a Science of The Total Environment report.

The report stated that the marine plastic, known as pyroplastic, stems from burning of manufactured plastics and can escape ready detection.

Beachgoers in Cornwall initially discovered the pyroplastics and requested scientists to research the findings. For the study, scientists analysed 165 pieces of plastic found in Cornwall and Orkney, as well as Ireland and Spain, and found that the marine plastic also contained restricted plastic additives, such as lead.

The scientists wrote: “Pyroplastic is an additional type of plastic litter that is described here, based on observations made on beached samples from south west England. Pyroplastics are derived from the informal or more organised burning of manufactured plastics and may be angular ‘plastiglomerates,’ comprising pieces of plastic debris within a matrix, or rounded plastic ‘pebbles,’ where agglomerated material has been weathered and smoothed into more brittle and neutrally-coloured geogenic-looking clasts.

“Evading ready detection due to their striking visual similarity to geogenic material, pyroplastics may contribute to an underestimation of the stock of beached plastics in many cases.”

Marine plastic pollution initiatives continue to grow

Marine plastic pollution has emerged as a big issue around the world, with many companies and governments now trying to tackle and shed light on the issue.

Earlier this year, US-based cannabis packaging solutions provider Sana Packaging introduced a new line of 100% reclaimed ocean plastic products in partnership with Oceanworks.

US-based SC Johnson announced the introduction of its Windex home cleaning brand bottle, made from 100% recycled ocean plastic.

In the East, the Indonesian island of Bali won its single-use plastic ban lawsuit after an overruling by the Supreme Court, according to a report by The Jakarta Post.

Japanese multinational IT equipment and services company Fujitsu has announced plans to reduce its use of plastic in its business activities to help tackle ocean plastic waste.