For better or worse, plastic materials have now completely invaded our societies. With no thought given to rationalizing their use and end-of-life, nearly 300 million tonnes of plastic waste are produced every year by human societies. Released into the environment, they break down into innumerable particles, which exchange pollutants with the medium through which they pass: plastic additives can be released into the environment, while other pollutants can, conversely, load up on the surface of microplastics, forming pollutant "rafts". These end up accumulating in the organisms that consume them, and notably in the end, us human beings!
One of the six winning projects from the latest Pure Ocean call for projects, Plastidrugs, will characterize the presence of major pollutants (endocrine disruptors and antibiotics) and emerging ones (additives and synthetic drugs) both in seawater, but also specifically on plastic particles. This study will be carried out comparatively in the Bay of Brest, where these pollutants have been identified, and in the Bay of Santos (Brazil), where wastewater treatment infrastructures are deficient. The team will draw up recommendations for curbing plastic pollution and its indirect chemical effects on humans and biodiversity.