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Kommentare 104

Aerosolproben über dem Ozean voll Mikroplastik

Jüngste Studien haben gezeigt, wie weit sich die Plastikverschmutzung bewegen kann, wenn sie in winzige Fragmente zerlegt wird. Diese sogenannten Mikroplastiken tauchen überall in der Arktis bis zur Antarktis auf und werden weltweit auch in Menschen nachgewiesen.

Eine neue Studie zeigt nun, wie Mikroplastik von Winden, die sie nach oben in die Atmosphäre und weit in entlegene Teile des Ozeans tragen, über die Meeresoberfläche geschwemmt werden kann.

Mikroplastik wird als winziges Stück mit einer Größe von weniger als 5 mm definiert. Diese ultrafeinen Partikel gelangen in die Luft und werden über die Atmosphäre transportiert. Von dort können sie in die unberührten Ecken der französischen Pyrenäen geblasen oder durch arktischen Schneefall aus der Atmosphäre ausgewaschen werden.

Expedition 2016

Der Tara-Forschungsschoner, 2016.
The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

Wissenschaftler des israelischen Weizmann Institute of Science untersuchten die Aerosolisierung, bei der Dinge wie Algenfragmente, Viren und andere Partikel vom Meerwasser in die Atmosphäre gespült werden. Als Teil davon sammelte das Team während einer Expedition 2016 Aerosolproben von der Spitze eines Mastes auf einem Forschungsschiff und analysierte den Inhalt mithilfe der Raman-Spektroskopie.

Dies ergab hohe Konzentrationen üblicher Kunststoffe wie Polystyrol, Polyethylen und Polypropylen, die höchstwahrscheinlich aus Plastiksackerl und anderen Plastikabfällen stammen, die in der Nähe der Hunderte von Kilometern entfernten Küste entsorgt wurden. Das Team kam zu diesem Schluss, nachdem es die Form und Masse der Partikel sowie die durchschnittlichen Windgeschwindigkeiten und Richtungen über dem Ozean berechnet hatte.

„Eine Handvoll Studien haben Mikroplastik in der Atmosphäre direkt über dem Wasser in Küstennähe gefunden“, sagt Studienautorin Dr. Miri Trainic. „Aber wir waren überrascht, eine nicht triviale Menge über scheinbar makellosem Wasser zu finden.“

Das Wasser schien von oben makellos zu sein, aber als die Forscher unter die Oberfläche blickten, fanden sie die gleichen Kunststofftypen an den gleichen Stellen wie die Aerosole. Sie sagen, dies bestätigt, dass Ozean-Mikroplastik diese abgelegenen Teile des Ozeans erreichen kann, indem es an die Oberfläche sprudelt und in die Atmosphäre gelangt. Dort kann es schädlichen chemischen Veränderungen unterliegen, bevor es wieder ins Wasser fällt.
 
„Sobald sich Mikroplastik in der Atmosphäre befindet, trocknen die Teile aus und sind UV-Licht und atmosphärischen Komponenten ausgesetzt, mit denen sie chemisch interagieren“, sagt Trainic. „Das bedeutet, dass die Partikel, die in den Ozean zurückfallen, für jedes Meeresleben, das sie aufnimmt, wahrscheinlich noch schädlicher oder giftiger sind als zuvor. Darüber hinaus werden einige dieser Kunststoffe zu Gerüsten für das Bakterienwachstum aller Arten von Meeresbakterien, sodass Kunststoffe in der Luft einigen Arten, einschließlich pathogener Bakterien, die für Meereslebewesen und Menschen schädlich sind, eine freie Fahrt ermöglichen könnten. “
 
….. und das Problem mit dem Mikroplastik wird wohl nicht so schnell verschwinden …..
 
„Mikroplastik wird wie alle Aerosole (beispielsweise Kohlenstoff und Sauerstoff) Teil der großen Planetenzyklen, wenn es mit anderen Teilen der Atmosphäre interagiert“, so der Studienautor Prof. Ilan Koren. „Da die Partikel sowohl leicht als auch langlebig sind, werden wir mehr Mikroplastik in der Luft transportieren, wenn die Kunststoffe, die bereits unsere Ozeane verschmutzen, zerfallen – selbst wenn wir unseren Wasserstraßen keine weiteren Kunststoffe hinzufügen.“

Die Forschung wurde in der Zeitschrift Nature veröffentlicht.

Weizmann Institute of Science / newatlas.com

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