In 2015, more than 300 million tons of plastic were produced worldwide (reference from Plastics Europe). It has been estimated that 2 to 5% of the total plastic released in the environment reaches the oceans every year, leading to 5 to 10 million tons of plastic annually entering the marine environment. In 2013, it was suggested in a paper publishin the journal Nature to "classify plastic waste as hazardous". If today, plastic pollution has been recognized by the scientific community as a global threat to the environment, the scope of its effects remains unknown. Global world models estimate several hundreds of thousands of tons of plastic debris which might be floating in oceans after degradation process of macroplastic. These numbers are 100 times lower than the annual estimated inputs. How can this discrepancy be explained? The scientific community actually agrees that there is a lack of understanding on the fate of plastic wastes in the aquatic environment and that we are not currently able to correctly quantify and identify plastic pollution in the environment. Indeed, one main route for the occurrence of micro- and nanoplastic (MNP) particles in the environment is expected to come from human daily use products and their release through wastewater. The other possible source of nanoplastic is thought to come from degradation of larger plastic items, which has the potential to release large numbers of MNP. There is currently an undeniable lack of consideration for nanoplastics. To our knowledge, no investigations of nanoplastic fate and effects in aquatic environment have taken place so far.
The long-term objective of the proposed collaboration and research is to determine the life-cycle of micro- and nano-plastics (MNP) in the Arctic marine environment.This multidisciplinary collaborative initiative aims to establish a long-term cooperation, align methodologies between laboratories and contribute to preparing a joint larger scale project proposal.