Microplastics are becoming an increasingly concerning problem for our planet, especially in our oceans. These tiny particles, which are often smaller than 5 millimeters, can be found throughout our waterways and have been shown to have a detrimental impact on marine life.
One of the primary sources of microplastics in the ocean is paint, specifically road paint. Road paint is used to mark streets, highways, and other public spaces, and over time, it wears down into tiny particles that end up in our waterways. The problem with microplastics in the ocean is that they are often mistaken for food by marine animals. When ingested, the plastic can cause internal blockages or harm the digestive tract of the animal. Additionally, microplastics can release toxic chemicals into the water, which can be harmful to marine life and even make their way into the food chain.
In February 2022, EA (Environmental Action) a Swiss based Research Organization researched and reported on the source of microplastics in our ocean and concluded a number of key messages:
- Paint is in large part made of plastic polymers (on average 37%).
- Paint appears as the largest source of microplastic leakage into the Ocean & Waterways (1.9 Mt/year), outweighing all other sources of microplastic leakage (e.g. textiles fibres and tyre dust).
- Leakage of paint to the environment occurs during Application, Wear & Tear and maintenance (micro-leakage), or it can be associated with the End-of-Life of the painted object (macro-leakage).
- The global contribution of Paint to plastic leakage has been largely overlooked so far. The total leakage from the paint is estimated in the range 5.2 – 9.8 Mt/year (with 7.4 Mt/year as central value).
The full report can be found and downloaded on on EA’s website https://www.e-a.earth/plasticpaintstheenvironment.
Along with recent press release Study Reveals Paint Is the Largest Source Of Microplastics In The Ocean
There are a number of articles available online that support the study of micro-plastics in our oceans. Academic instituitions are conducting more and more scientific research into the sources of micro-plastics, many of them pointing at paint and coatings:
Sciencedirect.com posts academic research articles including work from Andrew Turner, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom. Paint particles in the marine environment: An overlooked component of microplastics.
Forbes Magazine reported: Paint Is The Largest Source Of Microplastics In The Ocean, Study Finds – Feb 9th 2022
The Plastic in Paint Is Massively Polluting the Ocean – Jeremy Miller February 22, 2022
So, what can we do to reduce the amount of microplastics in the ocean that come from road paint? One solution is to explore alternative materials for road markings, such as plant-based or biodegradable paint technologies like Canadian invented, researched and developed Soyaoil® technologies.
For more information on Soyaoil ® BioMarker 400-RM Series Download.
Microplastics in the ocean are a serious problem, and road paint is just one of the many sources contributing to this issue. By exploring alternative materials for road markings, minimizing the amount of paint used, and being mindful of our own use of plastics, we can all play a part in reducing the amount of microplastics that end up in our oceans.
Contact us for more information.