Collecting Water Samples for Microplastics analysis at the School of Marine Studies USP.
Deputy Head of School of Marine Studies of The University of the South Pacific (USP), Dr Marta Ferreira presented the first results on Microplastic pollution in Fiji’s coastal environment at the International Conference on Plastics in the Marine Environment held in Singapore in December last year.
Dr Marta Ferreira showed the results of the ongoing research conducted by the Marine Pollution and Toxicology team at the School of Marine Studies.
This research has shown the presence of Microplastics in water, sediments and fish around coastal area in Suva, Fiji.
Microplastics are plastic particles smaller than 5 mm that arise mainly from the breakdown of bigger plastics.
Dr Ferreira stressed that these are of concern, as microplastics are virtually impossible to remove from the marine environment, and the predicted trends are for a continuous increase.
Aquatic organisms often mistake these plastics as food and eat them. The results obtained by Dr Ferreira’s team showed that microplastics are present in water and sediments at Laucala Bay, Suva Harbour and Navalavu LMPA, and importantly for food security also in the fish species captured.
This, Dr Ferreira said, may have implications for ecosystem health and consequently to human health in a country that relies heavily on the ocean for their sustenance.
According to the study, more than forty per cent (40%) of fish have in fact ingested microplastics and these results obtained in the research are now in preparation for publication in scientific journals.
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