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LAND BASED SOLUTIONS FOR PLASTICS IN THE SEA KICK-OFF MEETING

 

LAnd Based solutions for PLAstics in the Sea Kick-oFF Meeting

The online LABPLAS kick-off meeting took place on 23rd June 2021 with 59 participants. All 17 partners in the consortium were present at the kick-off meeting. The LABPLAS partners reviewed all work packages and discussed the agreed milestones and deliverables.

LABPLAS, is a H2020 EU project, led by Prof. Ricardo Beiras from the EcoTox Group at Universidade de Vigo. Besides, other two groups from Universidade de Vigo also take part in the project, the Animal Ecology Group, coordinated by Jorge Domínguez and the group of Dolores Garza, Erenea (Economics of Natural and Environmental Resources).

In recent years, a multitude of research projects have been developed focusing on assessing the presence of plastics and microplastics in the marine environment and the impact they generate from an environmental point of view. But 80% of these particles in the planet's seas and oceans have a terrestrial origin, which is why the project is focused on understanding the sources, transport, distribution and impacts of plastic pollution in all environmental compartments (freshwater, marine, terrestrial, atmosphere and aquatic biota) by applying technological advances (sampling, analysis, quantification), promoting biodegradable novel materials where appropriate, developing innovative and up-scalable models (for assessing the fate, effects and risks of plastics), and presenting results for decision making.

LABPLAS Project is a comprehensive collective effort formed by a strong consortium, composed of 17 partners from 8 different countries, encompassing expertise in pollution, environmental modelling, environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology, oceanography, hydrology, paleoecology, soil ecology, microbiology, water engineering, nanotechnology, economics and knowledge transfer. These experts team up with the aim of providing European authorities with the pre-normative knowledge needed to fight against plastic pollution on solid scientific grounds.

If the concept of a Swiss army knife is applied here, LABPLAS is an analogous multifaceted tool with well differentiated capabilities to identify the main sources, analyse transport, accumulation and degradation of plastics, diagnose environmental problems posed by plastics, and propose actionable mitigation strategies that can be readily turned into executable solutions.

LABPLAS targets the identification of MP and SMNP sources and their environmental pathways to fulfil a gap in the global literature, in two contrasting case studies. On the one hand, the urban-industrial Great North Sea including Thames and Elbe basins, and on the other hand, the rural but highway-crossed Mero-Barcés basin (NW Iberian Peninsula) which supplies a drinking water reservoir, considering both temporal and spatial variations. Terrestrial soils, freshwaters, marine waters, atmospheric particles, sediments, and aquatic biota samples will be studied using novel techniques from teledetection to nanotechnologies and provide robust tools and harmonised methodologies for plastic pollution monitoring. Plastics from environmental samples and new-generation plastics will be tested for toxicity and biodegradability in order to produce a scientifically sound risk assessment where risk posed by plastics is quantified as a function of particle size, shape and composition, and in particular in terms of chemical additives.

Environmental and laboratory data will then feed a suite of environmental models, identifying or predicting sources, transport among compartments, and potential transfer of chemicals to biota, up-scalable to produce a pan-European plastic information system (e-PLAS). The aim of the interacting models is to provide tools for environmental management and plan effective mitigation measures.

In short, LABPLAS will guide regulatory efforts and inform consumers within the current legislative initiatives prompted by the EU Plastics Strategy and the Plastics Directive (EU 2019/904) by providing solid scientific evidence and novel technical developments rather than by misperceptions and false myths on plastic properties.

Project partners

The consortium is composed of seventeen partners from eight different countries: UNIVERSIDADE DE VIGO (Spain), UNIVERSIDADE DA CORUÑA (Spain), Bundesanstalt fuer Gewaesserkunde (Germany), LABORATORIO IBERICO INTERNACIONAL DE NANOTECNOLOGIA (Portugal), KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN (Belgium), HELMHOLTZ ZENTRUM FUR OZEANFORSCHUNG KIEL (Germany), NATIONAL OCEANOGRAPHY CENTRE (United Kingdom), SORBONNE UNIVERSITE (France), OPEN UNIVERSITEIT NEDERLAND (Netherlands), RADBOUD UNIVERSITEIT (Netherlands), LEIBNIZ-INSTITUT FUR OSTSEEFORSCHUNG WARNEMUNDE STIFTUNG (Germany), ASSOCIACAO PARA O DESENVOLVIMENTO DO ATLANTIC INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH CENTRE (Portugal), UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL DE SAO PAULO (Brazil), BASF SE (Germany), TG Environmental Research (United Kingdom), CONTACTICA S.L. (SPAIN) and EGI FOUNDATION (Netherlands).

For more information:

Cynthia Gómez (University of Vigo) (Project Manager): cynthia.gomez@uvigo.gal

Twitter account: @ LABPLAS_H2020

LABPLAS Fact Sheet

 

 

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