Published: 27 November 2018 at 14:40
New study is first to test for microplastics around remote islands in South Atlantic
The first study to investigate microplastics around Ascension Island and the Falkland Islands – two of the most remote locations in the South Atlantic Ocean – has found levels of contamination comparable with the waters around the UK.
The research, led by Dr Dannielle Green of Anglia Ruskin University, involved sampling at 11 sites on the Falkland Islands and six sites on Ascension Island, as well as locations in Northern Ireland (Strangford Lough) and South West England (Plymouth Sound).
The study, the results of which have been published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, found high levels of microplastic litter at every site sampled around Ascension Island and the Falklands, with the results including microfibres such as nylon and polyester.
Dr Green, Senior Lecturer in Biology at Anglia Ruskin University, said:
The study also compared different methods of monitoring microplastics, and found that using a one litre container combined with a fine filter was a more effective method for capturing smaller microplastics.
Scientists currently use a variety of nets, such as plankton, bongo and manta nets, but Dr Green believes that the size of the mesh is leading to an underestimation of the concentrations of microplastics in seawater.
Dr Green added: