At the Midi Pyrénées Observatory, one of the missions consists of quantifying and providing the elements so that the best strategies can then be defined… This is the business of politicians and decision-makers at this level.
Where to find the least well-managed plastics? What do researchers want to know?
Those responsible are not all designated but are looked at under the magnifying glass different types of economic activities, tourism… as explained by Gaël Le Roux, research director at the CNRS. “We try to understand and then transmit data to decision-makers who can adjust either improve recycling, prevent, ban. Single-use plastics, twenty-thirty years ago, we did without, so we know how to do otherwise. In agriculture, it’s the same, we use a lot of them and they are poorly managed because they are not expensive, and then there remains another problem, which is also important for small plastics: the management of sewage sludge and of all other waste. That in the end the cities spit it out because we don’t really know what to do with this sludge and we put some of it back into the soil which becomes contaminants including microplastics, likely to be dispersed in the environment. »
Reduce plastic pollution
Hence the objective of identifying the main sources of microplastics so that “politicians can then decide on the best strategies to implement in order to reduce this plastic pollution. At the Observatoire Midi Pyrénées, our task is above all to quantify and provide the elements to define the best strategies. »
The latter thinks that the situation is not very clearly explained. “If the first studies materialize, the ecological and toxicological impact of microplastics and nanoplastics will also be highlighted and we will realize that we must accelerate our transition. Because plastic is associated with oil, so we are completely in the same problem, the period in which we live that of fossil fuels and plastic is an indicator of evolution associated with the oil industry and all that is intertwined. The problem is global, at our level, we can simply alert. »