Current event 3 - Deleila Basket 2nd period APES Current...

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Deleila Basket 2 nd period APES Current Event Students from Technical University of Denmark have estimated that each year between 4 and 12 million tons of plastics end up in the sea, and that the figure is expected to double over the next ten years. We have only begun to learn what happens with the plastics afterwards. Out of the two students have now created a method that can measure the micro plastics that other methods overlook. Using a filtration system mounted on the stern tube water intake of the marine research vessel Dana, the two students Robin Lenz and Kristina Enders collected microplastics on a route from northern Denmark across the Atlantic to the Sargasso Sea and back again. This enabled researchers from DTU Aqua to determine the volume of plastics in the sea. "This is the first time that the nearly invisible microplastics have been quantified so comprehensively. And we found microplastics everywhere along the almost 10,000 km long route," says Professor Torkel Gissel Nielsen, DTU Aqua, co-author of two articles on the collection, which has just been published in Marine Pollution Bulletin: "There's a lot of focus on plastics in the sea just now, but there are still many unknowns. Therefore, there is a great need to develop new methods to examine the extent of the problem and understand what actually happens with the plastics that end up in the sea. For although plastics are everywhere, we do not find them in the quantities to be expected based on the the large quantities that every year is led out into sea, and the big question is what becomes of it?" asks the professor. Dana's expedition passed through very different marine areas -- from coastal zones across the open ocean to the famous vortices (gyres) in the Sargasso Sea. The highest concentrations of microplastics were found close to the coasts, i.e. in the English Channel and at the Azores as well as in the vortices in the Sargasso Sea, says research assistant Kristina Enders, DTU Aqua: "Despite sailing through the large areas with vortices, the so-called 'gyres', we found that macro- as well as microplastics accumulate here, and large pieces of plastic were floating by every other minute, but it is wrong to refer to them as 'plastic islands'. On the other hand, we found microplastics in all samples -- from 13 to 501 pieces per cubic metre of water, i.e. up to 1 particle for every 2 litres of water. And there was a majority of the smallest plastic particles and fibres." Microplastics overlooked While the traditional nets for examining volumes of plastics in the sea typically collects plastics larger
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  • Fall '15
  • Ingles
  • Quantification, Existential quantification, Sargasso Sea, Technical University of Denmark, DTU Aqua

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