Study describes presence of textile microfibers in south European marine floors

phys.org | 11/16/2018 | Staff
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A study led by researchers of the University of Barcelona quantifies the presence of textile microfibers in south European marine floors from the Cantabrian Sea to the Black Sea. The study has analysed the amount of these colored fibers, which vary between three to eight millimeters but are extremely fine, less than a 0.1 mm diameter, and which come mainly from home and industrial washing machines. The results show the dominance of cellulosic fibers over synthetic polymers, and highlight that several oceanographic processes pile and transport microfibers to marine hollows.

These are some of the main conclusions of the article published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE by researchers Anna Sánchez Vidal, William P. de Haan and Miquel canals, in collaboration with Richard C. Thompson from the University of Plymouth (United Kingdom). According to the researchers, the study reports the presence of this residue in marine floors and could help designing effective management strategies to reduce the emission of microfibers with a potential negative effect on the marine ecosystems.

Microfibers - Microplastics - Marine - Environment - Study

Microfibers are among the most common microplastics in the marine environment, but such a deep study had not been carried out so far in a large area. Researchers analysed soil samples from 42 and 3,500 meters deep in 29 stations in southern European seas. The results show that higher densities of fiber are found in the Cantabrian Sea, followed by the Catalan seas and the Alboran Sea, respectively, while lower densities are in the western Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

The study also shows distance in deep seas is not a barrier to the accumulation of microfibers, since about 20 percent of these particles are accumulated in the open sea beyond 2,000 meters deep. "Textile microfibers seem to concentrate at the bottom of submarine canyons, while the quantity in the slope is significantly lower....
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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