Plastics News

Simplified graphic showing how seafloor currents create microplastics hotspots in the deep-sea. Image Courtesy NOCS

SCIENCE: Seafloor Microplastic Hotspots Controlled by Deep-sea Currents

recorded on the seafloor, with up to 1.9 million pieces in an area of just one square metre.Published this week in the journal Science, this study shows how deep-sea currents act as conveyor belts, transporting tiny plastic fragments and fibers across the seafloor. These currents can concentrate microplastics within huge sediment accumulations, which the authors of the research term ‘microplastic hotspots’. These hotspots appear to be the deep-sea equivalents of the so-called ‘garbage patches’ formed by currents on the ocean surface.More than 10 million tons of plastic waste enters

Image Credit: Queen’s University Belfast

Microplastic Impairs Hermit Crabs' Shell Selection Ability

the ability of hermit crabs to select a shell needed for their survival.Currently up to 10 percent of global plastic production ends up in the sea although the understanding of how this affects marine life is limited. The research, published today in Biology Letters, focused on the impact of plastics on hermit crabs, which play an important role in balancing the marine ecosystem.Hermit crabs do not develop their own shells but instead, take shells from snails to protect their soft abdomens. As a hermit crab grows over the years, it will need to find a succession of larger and larger shells to

L-R Maddison Fleming, Keira-Mai Fenn, Connor Hazell, Lewis Burrell, Dylan Gooch, Prisha Brown (Photo: Subsea UK)

Northgate Students Conquer Subsea UK’s STEM Challenge

the subsea industry. Witnessing the ingenuity, ambition and enthusiasm shown by all pupils taking part in this year’s STEM challenge has been tremendous, and I want to congratulate the team from Northgate High School on their winning design.“This year we chose the topical theme of removing plastics from the sea as we want the next generation to understand the breadth of challenges which subsea engineering can tackle. I want to thank everyone who has taken part in this year’s challenge and our sponsors who have helped make the 2020 STEM Challenge such a huge success.”Maddison Fleming

(Photo: Sandvik)

Sandvik Wins Mero Steel Tube Umbilical Order

manufacturer said. It features high mechanical strength and good weldability. Umbilicals seamless tubes made from Sandvik SAF 2507 provide stronger structural reinforcement in smaller sizes compared to less durable thermoplastic technology.“There are several advantages to using steel tubing over plastics, but the main one is reliability in challenging conditions,” said Alan Souza, Sales Manager, Sandvik. “At Sandvik, we have been observing market trends in Brazil closely for the past 20 years and are well placed to support the transition from thermoplastic to more robust steel.&rdquo

We enjoyed tunes from a VJ in the MoPOP Sky Church at the Gala. (Photo courtesy of Rick A. Smith)

Industry Event OCEANS 2019 Seattle A Success

cool, crisp air.  Some of the popular features of the conference continued, including the Office of Naval Research and Integrated Ocean Observing Systems sponsored Student Poster Competition (see article elsewhere in this edition), several special Town Halls on key topics such as marine debris and plastics, and a Gala reception at an iconic location – the Frank Gehry-designed Museum of Popular Culture (MoPOP) at The Seattle Center.The local organizing committee particularly focused on students and young professionals, with several programs aimed to foster their participation beyond the traditional

Recent acceptance to operate in Rotterdam and proof of sustainability claims after more than 500 hull cleaning operations help propel ECOsubsea, the robotic hull cleaning system. Photo: Ecosubsea

Robotic Hull Cleaning Advances in Dutch Ports

,” he added.ECOsubsea’s system works by having a robotic cleaning system, move over a ship’s hull, gently removing the fouling off the hull without damaging the vessel’s hull coating. This is an important factor for ports that are increasingly concerned that heavy metals and micro-plastics, which are often found in hull coatings, may contaminate their waters when hulls are cleaned.Klaus and Tor Østervold COO and CEO of ECOsubsea The cleaning and suction system then draws the fouling detritus ashore or onto a barge, where it is filtered out of the water and sent ashore

Pic: IBM

IBM Joins Mayflower Autonomous Ship Project

it supports," he added.The vessel will carry three research pods containing an array of sensors and scientific instrumentation that scientists will use to advance understanding in a number of vital areas such as maritime cybersecurity, marine mammal monitoring, sea level mapping and ocean plastics. The work will be coordinated by the University of Plymouth, UK, who are at the forefront of marine and maritime research, with support from IBM and ProMare

Polystyrene pollution at the tide’s edge. Photo by Jayne Doucette, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Study: Sunlight Degrades Polystyrene Faster than Expected

A study published by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that polystyrene, one of the world’s most ubiquitous plastics, may degrade in decades or centuries when exposed to sunlight, rather than thousands of years as previously thought.  The study published October 10, 2019, in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters.“Right now, policy makers generally assume that polystyrene lasts forever in the environment,” says Collin Ward, a marine chemist at WHOI and lead author of the study. “That’s part of justification for writing

Photo: David Vargas/Lindblad Expeditions

MTR100: #3 Sven Lindblad, Lindblad Expeditions

;s responsibility is to change people’s behavior, educating everyone that the environment is an essential partner, not some alien creation that is merely tolerated.“How do you get people to think differently?” said Lindblad. “To protect our asset? We must commit to eliminating plastics in our supply chains. The amounts of plastic in our oceans is horrible and we must face essential change.” Capt. Cook would likely advocate the world quit dumping plastics and garbage in the oceans he crossed in three epic expeditions around the globe, including first to cross the Antarctic

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