Microplastic (MP) pollution is of great environmental concern. MPs have been found all over the Earth, which is indicative for the important threat they constitute. Yet, while the ocean is object of major interest, the data available in the literature about MP pollution in the freshwaters, including those of the Earth’s poles, are limited to few reports, questioning the transport patterns through which MPs reach these remote areas. MPs can indeed be ingested by animals and can physically damage their digestive tracts, as well as escalate the trophic levels down to indigenous people. MPs can also alter microbial community biodiversity and functions by serving as surfaces onto which microbes (including pathogens) can grow and develop (plastisphere), and can enhance ice melting when trapped in glaciers. Plastic-attached microbes could be also capable of degrading plastic polymers, thus altering the buoyancy of polymers and the toxicity of plastics. In turn, the ability to degrade plastics by cold-adapted microorganisms could lead to an environmental-friendly solution in mitigating plastic pollution in cold environments.
In this context, an international in-person trans-disciplinary workshop is proposed to be held in Messina (Italy), where the Italian Institute of Polar Sciences also operates, in late Spring 2024. The workshop will be aimed at gaining relevant information to take actions in thwarting plastic pollution in Arctic freshwaters (e.g., snow, glaciers, lakes and rivers), along with a focus on the plastisphere. The two-day workshop would involve 20-25 persons, with the participation of at least 5 experts in the field. The current state of microplastic pollution in the Arctic freshwaters will be discussed in the first day of the Workshop, whereas the second day will be devoted to brainstorming among participants, with a final writing session showcasing the outcomes of the workshop to be shared with ICARP IV for implementation.
Type of Activity:
Dates and Locations:
- Late Spring 2024, Messina, Italy
Open / Closed Activity:
With limited attendance