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NILU – Norsk institutt for luftforskning

13. Nov 2019

MARS will study the composition, degradation and environmental impacts of rubber particles (ca. 5 mm) used to enhance performance of artificial grass on sports pitches («kunstgressbane») in arctic coastal communities. Samples collected from multiple locations in northern Norway and Svalbard will be analyzed for their composition and the additive profile determined. Physical degradation studies will investigate how the rubber particles interact with sediment particles under energetic conditions representing arctic coastal zones. Changes in particle size, shape and surface characteristics will be monitored over time. UV (sunlight) degradation studies will investigate the stability of the rubber particles under synthetic and authentic sunlight conditions, including chemical changes and physical breakdown. Impact studies will investigate how organisms from different trophic levels and ecosystem compartments (zooplankton and benthic crustaceans) interact with particles from this source of plastic and microplastics (MP). Both particle uptake and egestion of different particle sizes, as well as toxicity of additives will be investigated. Impacts on fitness traits (survival and reproduction) will be studied for planktonic and benthic species in acute (hours) and long-term (weeks) exposure experiments in a range of plastic and MP concentrations. Studies will utilize ‘pristine’ rubber particles and test materials artificially weathered in the laboratory to investigate the role of degradation on subsequent availability and toxicity. Field experiments in Arctic locations (Tromsø and Svalbard) will supply knowledge of their weathering and pollutant de- and adsorption kinetics. The MARS project will produce valuable and timely knowledge for local and national environmental management and provide input towards international regulation for plastic pollution control.

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