Water to be tested for microplastics

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Water to be tested for microplastics

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1 Water to be tested for microplastics on Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:57 am

Joe

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The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is to research plastic pollution in drinking water and seafood, an EPA official said yesterday, as a response to Greenpeace Taiwan’s call for more monitoring of marine pollution.

Greenpeace Taiwan in November last year and last month held ocean clean-up days in Keelung, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung County and yesterday revealed its findings at a news conference in Taipei.

In Keelung it collected between 86 and 409 pieces of microplastics — plastic trash that is less than 5mm long — and between two and 39 pieces of trash in different areas off the coast of southern Taiwan, said Hiin Studio deputy executive officer Kuo Fu (郭芙), who collaborated with Greenpeace Taiwan’s project.

Microplastics and hard plastics are the most commonly found garbage in Taiwan’s marine areas, she said, adding that the debris often attaches to plankton and microorganisms that have similar weights and volumes.

Microplastics also jeopardize the entire food chain, but research into marine pollution is lacking in Taiwan, Greenpeace Taiwan ocean campaigner Yen Ning (顏寧) said, calling on the government to launch more research on plastic pollution.

The EPA’s Environmental Analysis Laboratory is this year to begin monitoring microplastics in drinking water and farmed fish, laboratory director Yen Chun-lan (顏春蘭) said.

The laboratory is to test 89 water purification plants nationwide for microplastics in the nation’s drinking water, the laboratory’s section chief Yang Hsi-nan (楊喜男) said.

To test the level of plastic pollution in seafood, samples of water, sand and certain farmed fish are to be taken from Changhua County’s Wanggong Village (王功), Yunlin County’s Taisi Township (台西), Chiayi County’s Dongshih Township (東石), Tainan’s Anping District (安平), Penghu County and Matsu (馬祖), he said, adding that they would submit the reports to the EPA at the end of the year.

In July last year, the EPA, Greenpeace Taiwan and other environmental groups formed an ocean waste management platform.

The group has met at least once a month, Yen Ning said, adding that they would unveil new plans on how to tackle marine pollution later this month.

The plan aims to reduce plastics at the source, enact prevention and clean up measures in marine environments, research and monitor marine pollution and enhance public engagement in such efforts, she said.

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