Scientists from the Siberian Federal University have proved that bioplastics can be degraded in subarctic latitudes without harm to the environment.
At the moment, Russian and international teams are investigating the processes of pollution and the spread of microplastics in the Arctic zone.
All researchers note that in almost every sample they found plastic particles less than 5 mm in size, which were represented by polymer threads, granules, or fragments.
Katerina Shalunova, Senior Lecturer, Department of Environmental Safety and Sustainable Development of Regions, St. Petersburg State University
The main danger of plastic in the Arctic is that animals, fish, and birds can easily confuse it with food. Microplastics are believed to enter the Arctic through the Gulf Stream.
To solve this problem, scientists of the Institute of Biophysics of the SB RAS have developed a technology for producing special biopolymers – polyhydroxyalkanoates, which in nature produce bacteria under certain conditions. The peculiarity of the resulting material is that it breaks down to non-toxic compounds, such as carbon dioxide and water.
Researchers tested how bioplastics behave in different climatic conditions and found that it is capable of degradation in sub-arctic latitudes, which means it is not dangerous.
Since the safety of bioplastics has been proven, it is possible to expand the scope of its application, the authors of the work believe.