In 2020, two campaigns were carried out to monitor the contamination of floating plastics in collaboration with the PNMI. The surveys were carried out on 18 sampling sites, in Brest harbour, the Bay of Douarnenez and the Iroise Sea, using a Manta net or a double Neuston net of standard 335µm mesh.
The CNRS recruited Léna Thomas onto the project to take charge of all technical and analytical activities related to monitoring contamination of the marine environment by microplastics. Ifremer did the same survey in the Bay des Veys in Normandy. This sea sampling was planned in conjunction with Labocea and EPAB, who carried out sampling of the catchment area for each bay. The samples are now being analysed, and the data will be used by Actimar to model the flows of floating plastic debris for each catchment area.
For the assessment of the ecological impacts, Ifremer recruited two postdocs :
Kévin Tallec carried out two experiments to determine the sensitivity of different life stages of the oyster (gametes, embryos, young adults) to chemical compounds released by rubber fragments. And, Camille Détrée began working on the risks associated with the presence of synthetic and natural microfibers in the environment and their ingestion by oysters.
As well as conducting research and finding solutions to tackle plastic pollution, Preventing Plastic Pollution engages with the local communities in each catchment area. Most public interventions were postponed to 2021 due to the health crisis, but activities took place in 6 primary classes in the Guérin school in Brest. And LEMAR took part in several events, including a Science Festival, a researchers’ night, a general public conference and the School Plastic Hackathon, all raising awareness on the problems of plastic pollution and its solutions. Most of these events were organised by PPP project partner Océanopolis.