Global Monitoring of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) using Beached Plastic Resin Pellets.
Plastic resin pellets are small granules with a diameter of a few mm. They are distributed on beaches all over the world. See "What's pellet" for more details.
Organic micro-pollutants in the pellets will be analyzed in the laboratory*.Based on the analytical results, global distribution of organic micro-pollutants will be mapped. The results will be sent to the participants through e-mail and released on the web. This monitoring is based on our finding that marine plastic resin pellets adsorb hydrophobic organic pollutants with concentration factor up to 1,000,000. The purpose of International Pellet watch is to understand the current status of global POPs pollution. The advantage of Pellet Watch is extremely low cost of sampling and shipping as compared with conventional monitoring using water, sediment and biological samples. We can draw global POPs pollution map with very low cost. The disadvantage is that beached pellets give us rough (i.e., not so precise) information on marine pollution. This is because of movable nature of resin pellets. If we will find any high concentration of POPs in some beaches,more precise monitoring and investigation should be conducted. Pellet Watch will provide us with a preliminary survey of pollution. Of course, we have deep concern about the biological effects of the POPs and additive-derived contaminants contained in the pellets, because there has been much evidence that some species of marine organisms ingest plastic pellets. We have been conducting some experiments to examine the biological effects. However, in this project, we utilize the pellets as environmental monitoring.
*Analytical Instrument (Gas chromatograph equipped with mass spectrometer: FOCUS-Polaris Q GC/MS) will be kindly provided by ThermoElectron KK .
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