TASS, October 9. Scientists, participating in the international scientific expedition onboard the Akademik Mstislav Keldysh research vessel, confirmed microplastics fractions along the entire Northern Sea Route, the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Pacific Ocean Studies Institute reported on its website on Wednesday.
In September, 80 scientists from Russia, China and Sweden left for an expedition onboard the Akademik Mstislav Keldysh research vessel to study ecology and bio-chemical consequences from the thawing underwater permafrost in the East Arctic and along the Northern Sea Route. They have found already a record emission of methane in the Arctic seas.
"Another breakthrough result is microplastics found in upper water and in marine organisms along the Northern Sea Route," the report quoted the expedition’s leader Igor Semiletov as saying. "These discoveries will be the subjects of at least three publications in magazines of the Nature level."
Earlier, researchers during the Trans Arctic 2019 expedition on board the Akademik Treshnikov in July - September, 2019, came to the conclusion that the Barents Sea is the most polluted with microplastics Arctic sea.
Production of plastics has grown lately. More than half of it has been made over recent 15 years, as "we cannot imagine living without it - it’s convenient, light, enduring, in fact it’s eternal," an expert of the Russian State Hydrometeorology University Alexandra Yershova said, stressing the most hazardous are plastic fractions smaller than one millimeter.
"They, like a sponge, soak up everything from water - toxic and harmful substances, pesticides, heavy metals, pathogenic microbes. Filters - mollusks, fish fries - accumulate it, and this is how microplastics get into human’s food. Such filter-organisms are numerous in the Arctic - from microscopic crustaceans to whales, which filter up to 70 thousand liters of water at a time. Therefore, the Arctic is a region particularly vulnerable to microplastics pollution," she said.