Oceanographers have discovered a considerable amount of micro-plastic in the Antarctic ice. Its concentration there are several times more than in the Subpolar ocean that force us to reconsider the pattern of pollution in the region, and evidence that the area of Antarctica has its own source of micro-plastic, such as commercial traffic. The article was published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.
Study of contamination microplastics is one of the most popular destinations in the environment. Its harm is not fully understood and not so obvious, but the scale of the spread is impressive: it is found in groundwater, and in the Pyrenees mountains, and the Arctic ice far from civilization.
Anna Kelly (Anna Kelly) from the University of Tasmania and her colleagues decided to study the pollution microplastics Antarctic ice. A little-known feature of the ice cover the South pole is its seasonality, its 80% fade and zamerzayut back during the year, which accelerates the penetration of material from the oceans. The study was based on material, produced in 2009 at the Australian station Casey. The expedition members wearing protective suits, so as not to contaminate the samples, drilled a hole, removed a small piece of ice and Packed it in a multilayer plastic bag. After that, the sample was delivered to the laboratory, stored in a freezer at minus eighteen degrees.
In the laboratory the sample is melted, and all scientists wore protective robes of pure cotton. Before spectroscopy was necessary to clean the samples from biological material. Melt water passed through a fine filter, which delayed almost all particles. The filter is then purified from the biomass using hydrogen peroxide and alcohol and then examined with infrared spectroscopy (FTIR).
The researchers obtained the following results: in approximately one liter of melt water from the Antarctic ice was discovered 96 micro-plastic particles, among which was dominated by polyethylene, polypropylene and nylon.