Scientists from Russia revealed the routes of the «migration» of garbage in the Baltic sea

© RIA Novosti / Eugene to Novostinearly photobomber in the Baltic seaScientists from Russia revealed the routes of the «migration» of garbage in the Baltic sea© RIA Novosti / Eugene to Novostinearly the image Bank

Oceanographers from Kaliningrad found that particles microplastics can swim long distances in the Baltic sea due to strong currents, which greatly hinder the purification of its waters from pollution in the future, according to a paper published in Science of the Total Environment.

«We were interested in the question: how is it that the smallest strings of plastic which, in General, lighter than water, are everywhere: in the open sea and near shore, but some of them goes down? We hypothesized that the strings that didn’t drown immediately begin to fall down to the bottom, for a number of reasons, including due to the gradual settling of plastic, bacteria and microalgae», – says Andrey Bagaev from the Institute of Oceanology of RAS, Kaliningrad, whose word brings the press service of the Russian science Foundation.

Today on the landfill Land every year gets about 300 million tons of plastic waste, most of which are not decomposed by soil microbes and remains almost intact over tens and even hundreds of years. When this debris enters the world’s oceans, it turns into a huge pile like so-called «great garbage spot» in the Pacific ocean.

For this reason, the last 50-70 years oceanographers often jokingly referred to as the «plastic period» because of the huge amount of micro-plastics in the oceans. As shown by the observations of scientists, published in 2014, these particles do not stay long in the water and, apparently, eaten by fish and marine animals, and therefore represent a threat to the environment and human health.

Scientists have tried to reveal the reasons of such behavior of plastic waste and to understand how it «migrates» on the Baltic sea, creating a miniature analogue of the waters in the laboratory. This planted aquarium with a set of plastic strands, oceanographers watched what happens to them when immersed in water, how fast it sinks and how they interact with the microfauna of the sea and currents.

These observations, in turn, was used to generate a computer model of the Baltic sea, which oceanographers have tracked the debris falling into the Baltic sea off the coast of the Kaliningrad region and Poland, migrates through the waters of the sea.

«The main result of the study shows that there is no «our» and «alien» garbage. Due to the low deposition rate of the microfibers are carried with the currents and spread to all regions of the Baltic sea» — continues scientist.

Such manner of travel of plastic waste, as noted by the authors, significantly complicates the fight against pollution of the waters of the Baltic sea as surface and deep currents constantly «stirred» coastal cluster of plastic particles and make them move across the waters of the sea.