Marine plastic pollution has been a growing concern for decades. Single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads) are a significant source of this pollution. Although research outlining environmental, social, and economic impacts of marine plastic pollution is growing, few studies have examined policy and legislative tools to reduce plastic pollution, particularly single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads). This paper reviews current international market-based strategies and policies to reduce plastic bags and microbeads. While policies to reduce microbeads began in 2014, interventions for plastic bags began much earlier in 1991. However, few studies have documented or measured the effectiveness of these reduction strategies. Recommendations to further reduce single-use plastic marine pollution include: (i) research to evaluate effectiveness of bans and levies to ensure policies are having positive impacts on marine environments; and (ii) education and outreach to reduce consumption of plastic bags and microbeads at source.
Single-use plastics, Microbeads, Plastic bags, Policies, Plastic marine pollution
Xanthos, D., Walker, T.R., 2017. International policies to reduce plastic marine pollution from single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads): A review. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 118(1-2): 17-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.02.048.
Microplastics (MP), small plastic particles below 5 mm, have become one of the central concerns of environmental risk assessment. Microplastics are continuously being released into the aquatic environment either directly through consumer products or indirectly through fragmentation of larger plastic materials. The aim of our study was to investigate the effect of polyethylene microbeads from cosmetic products on duckweed (Lemna minor), a freshwater floating plant. The effects of microbeads from two exfoliating products on the specific leaf growth rate, the chlorophyll a and b content in the leaves, root number, root length and root cell viability were assessed. At the same time, water leachates from microbeads were also prepared to exclude the contribution of cosmetic ingredients on the measured impacts. Specific leaf growth rate and content of photosynthetic pigments in duckweed leaves were not affected by polyethylene microbeads, but these microbeads significantly affected the root growth by mechanical blocking. Sharp particles also reduced the viability of root cells, while the impact of microbeads with a smooth surface was neglected. It was concluded that microbeads from cosmetic products can also have negative impacts on floating plants in freshwater ecosystems.
Keywords: Cosmetics, Floating plants, Microbeads, Microplastics
Kalčíková Gabriela, Andreja Žgajnar Gotvajn, Aleš Kladnik, Anita Jemec Kokalj (2017): Impact of polyethylene microbeads on the floating freshwater plant duckweed Lemna minor. Environmental pollution, vol. 230, str. 1108-1115