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Home Archive of journals Volume 11, No. 2, 2021 Study of microplastic pollution in the seas of the Russian Arctic and the Far East


JOURNAL: Volume 11, No. 2, 2021, p. 164-177

HEADING: Ecology

AUTHORS: Ershova, A.A., Eremina, T.R., Dunayev, A.L., Makeeva, I.N., Tatarenko, Y.A.

ORGANIZATIONS: Russian State Hydrometeorological University

DOI: 10.25283/2223-4594-2021-2-164-177

UDC: 504.42

The article was received on: 29.12.2020

Keywords: pollution, Russian Arctic, Northern Sea Route, micro-plastics, marine litter

Bibliographic description: Ershova, A.A., Eremina, T.R., Dunayev, A.L., Makeeva, I.N., Tatarenko, Y.A. Study of microplastic pollution in the seas of the Russian Arctic and the Far East. Arktika: ekologiya i ekonomika. [Arctic: Ecology and Economy], 2021, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 164-177. DOI: 10.25283/2223-4594-2021-2-164-177. (In Russian).


The pollution of the seas in the Russian Arctic zone with micro-plastic particles is poorly studied in comparison with other areas of the World Ocean. The rapidly developing economic activity in the Arctic region threats to pollute the marine environment with plastic wastes. Arctic marine ecosystems are particularly vulnerable due to changes occurring in them under climate warming, as well as a large number of filter-feeder species in some coastal areas. The lack of observation data on the level of micro-plastic pollution in the region and methodological support for sampling requires the development of methods and approaches using the existing international experience. The paper presents preliminary results of the study carried out within the framework of the 4th stage of the TRANSARCTICA-2019 program in the Far Eastern and Arctic seas from Vladivostok to Murmansk. The authors present the analysis of existing approaches to sampling in seawaters and the possibility of their application in Russian expeditionary conditions. They describe in detail their method of sampling from a subsurface level (4—5 m) showing the advantage of using the proposed method for sampling when the vessel is moving and under adverse weather conditions. The studied quantitative and qualitative composition of the detected micro-plastic particles show that the East Siberian and Laptev seas have the lowest concentrations of micro-plastics. The largest amount of micro-plastic particles is found in the areas of intensive shipping in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Barents Sea. Comparison with existing international studies shows that the sampling method for micro-plastics strongly depends on the type of water body, its biological productivity, the level of pollution, as well as the technical capabilities of field research. All this indicates the need for intercalibration of sampling methods and further research for a more accurate quantitative and qualitative assessment of the micro-plastic pollution in the Arctic seas.

Finance info: The work was implemented in frames of the State Assignment of the Ministry for science and higher education of the Russian Federation, project FSZU-2020-0009, title: Research of physical, chemical and biological processes in the atmosphere and hydrosphere under conditions of climate change and anthropogenic impacts.


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DOI 10.25283/2223-4594