Plastic particles can be found in the air, in the soil, in rivers and lakes, and especially in the marine environment. Plastic particles with a diameter smaller than 5 mm are referred to as microplastics. Marine litter is known to have negative effects on the health of more than 600 species. More than half of these ingest or become entangled in plastic debris. The components of microplastics can be toxic or cause endocrine disruption. In addition, marine organisms that swallow plastic microparticles may potentially ingest higher doses of persistent organic pollutants sticking to the surface of these microplastics. This poses the risk of toxic substances accumulating in the food web and harming a variety of animal species and also human beings. These and other impacts of microplastics in the environment are the topic of a whole session on the first day of the conference.
Impacts of microplastics at a glance
An overview of impacts on animals and especially on plants and mussels in aquatic ecosystems will be given by Prof. Dr. Stephan Pflugmacher-Lima (TU Berlin). Furthermore, Prof. Christian Laforsch (Uni Bayreuth) will highlight the impacts of microplastics in freshwater ecosystems. The socio-economic implications of the microplastic problem will be explained by Emma Watkins (IEEP). The impact discussions will be backed up by evidence of marine littering and biodegradation of (bio-)plastics from the field presented by Dr. Miriam Weber (HYDRA Institute for Marine Sciences)
The conference “Microplastic in the Environment – Sources, Impacts & Solutions” will take place 23 – 24 November 2015 in Cologne, Germany. It offers the largest space to discuss the sources, impacts and solutions among manufacturers, consumers, scientists, environmental and governmental organisations in Europe 2015. More than 200 experts are expected to participate. Approximately 30 speakers will present different takes on impacts and solution approaches.
An update of the online programme is now available at http://microplastic-conference.eu/programme
Download the conference leaflet: Microplastic-2015
Source: nova-Institut GmbH, 2015-10-08.