Over 60 Partners contributed to the Ocean Plastics Lab
A wide range of exhibits, interactive installations, displays and animations are showcased in the Ocean Plastics Lab. This is the contribution of over 60 scientific institutions, EU projects, NGOs, foundations and intergovernmental organisations from all continents.
„Curiosity is always the first step to a problem that needs to be solved“
MARINE PLASTIC POLLUTION – A GLOBAL PROBLEM
Up to date, 1,401 species have been affected by plastic litter in different ways. Animals consume plastic which can lead to injuries in the gut or block the stomach resulting in malnutrition and even starvation. Various animals get entangled in plastic litter. This can lead to death because the animals cannot escape their predators, get exhausted or drown.
Plastic is in mass production since 1950s and about 7.8 billion metric tons have been produced to date. The production grew enormously over time, since 2014 over 300 million metric tons are produced every year. About 42 % are used for packaging especially short life products such as plastic bags.
It is estimated that up to 12 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year. About 80% stems from land-based sources and 20% from ships and fisheries. Plastic from coasts and inland enters the ocean via rivers, waste water, mismanaged garbage dumps, wind, and littering.
Top 5 plastic litter found on beaches during 2016 international coastal cleanup:
Plastic beverage bottles
Plastic bottle caps and lids
Food wrapper and foam container
Top 5 primary microplastic sources:
Vehicle tyre dust
About 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 269,000 metric tons are estimated to be floating in the ocean. 92 % of this mass are microplastic. This occurrence has been described as ‘synthetic smog’, much like the air pollution hovering over polluted cities. However, the majority of plastic lies on the seafloor.
Most types of plastic are extremely durable. When a plastic item degrades, it first breaks down into smaller pieces (so-called microplastic), but it is uncertain if the polymers themselves eventually disappear.
OCEAN PLASTICS LAB
The Ocean Plastics Lab showcases the contribution of science to understand and combat the problem of plastics in the ocean.