Pollution

Car tyres are a major source of ocean microplastics

Tyres a major source of ocean microplastics

A new study conducted at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research suggests wind-borne microplastics are a bigger source of ocean pollution than rivers, the route that has attracted most attention to date.

Airborne transport has received much less attention than rivers because only the smallest particles can be blown by the wind and their size makes them difficult to identify as plastic. The scientists concentrated on fine tyre and brake dust as there is better data on how these are produced than tiny microplastics from other sources, such as plastic bottles and packaging.

Turtles and plastic bags
Plastics floating in the ocean build a coating of algae and microorganisms that smells edible to turtles.

Why do sea turtles eat plastic? Perhaps because it smells good

To understand sea turtle behavior around ocean plastics, the research team compared how sea turtles in a lab setting reacted to smelling odors of turtle food, ocean-soaked plastic, clean plastic and water.

The turtles ignored the scents of clean plastic and water, but responded to the odors of food and ocean-soaked plastics by showing foraging behavior. This included poking their noses out of the water repeatedly as they tried to smell the food source, and increasing their activity as they searched.

From the Tip of an Iceberg to My Tap Water: Diving the Arctic Underworld and the St Lawrence River

Lasselin descends down the wall of a giant iceberg in Arctic waters. Photo courtesy of Nathalie Lasselin.

Award-winning underwater cinematographer and documentary producer Nathalie Lasselin reflects upon her dive expeditions in the Arctic and her epic project to raise awareness about the state of fresh water in the St Lawrence River, closer to home in Montreal.

Diving with Weapons of mass destruction

Divers & dumped chemical weapons in the Baltic

The Swedish Coast Guard is responsible for surveillance of and response to oil and other harmful substances at sea. Why do we have these problems today? While a complete history is beyond the scope of this article, I will discuss dumping at sea from German stores.