Research partnership


Biomimetism* against microplastic pollution in the oceans

Research partnership

Biomimetism* against microplastic pollution in the oceans The Aquarium La Rochelle welcomed Leandra Hamann, a doctoral student from the University of Bonn, to film sardines and shad. She chose these animals because they have the particularity of filtering their food (particles in suspension in the water and zooplankton). Studying their feeding behaviour could provide solutions to the problem of microplastic discharges into the oceans, including textile fibres from the machine washing of synthetic clothing.


*Technical imitation of processes set in motion by nature. (c)Leandra Hamann

Primary microplastics


Large amounts of plastic waste of all sizes end up in rivers and oceans with adverse effects on marine ecosystems.

Some of the microplastics found in the oceans come from the fragmentation of larger pieces of waste in the marine environment. But there are also primary microplastics, i.e. small particles (< 5 mm in size) that are directly released into the environment. They represent 15 to 30% of plastic pollution in the oceans. Most of it comes from tyre abrasion while driving and from the washing of synthetic textiles.

For many years, actions to address the problem of plastics in the natural environment were mainly related to waste management. Today, new streams of action are emerging with an approach based on product eco-design and life-cycle thinking, as well as the involvement of key stakeholders from the private sector (e.g. the textile and automotive industry) and the public sector (water treatment and urban infrastructure planning).

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