Nano and microplastics

Assessment of the microplastic pollution in surface waters

The Central Environmental Laboratory has started tackling the problematic  of microplastics as early as 2010, following two axes. One was directed at the global microplastic pollution, and its extent, impacts and potential reduction in the marine environment; participation in researches of Oceaneye, a Geneva-based organization, allowed the team to become familiar with the topic and technics with the study of microplastic pollution in the Mediterranean Sea.

The other axis focused more specifically on Switzerland and Lake Geneva to begin with. The fact that this pollution could actually be found arose through succinct analysis of beach sand samples, revealing the occurrence of both micro- and microplastics. Fishes and a bird were also emptied and their guts analyzed. No plastic was found at this stage but the main conclusion was that the methodology needed improvement: the additional observation of gull’s regurgitation pellets containing apparently high amounts of plastic particles (including microplastics) showed the likely plastic consumption by water birds.

Contacts: Florian Breider