IUCN and academic partners are conducting research in the Arctic and Baltic regions to establish to what extent plastic particles accelerate ice melt in the Arctic Circle. Dark plastic particles attract sunlight, warm up and melt the ice around it. The ongoing research aims to quantify how much plastic is needed to provoke that effect.
Scientists will attempt to establish how much plastic might be embedded in ice across the region, and to what extent high concentrations of microplastics and plastics in ice might accelerate climate change. They are also looking at quantifying plastic leakage from all riparian countries around the Baltic, and assessing likely impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity.
The research project is the subject of a short film - Microplastics in the Baltic.
The research project is sponsored by the Swedish Postcode Foundation.