Emerging research into microplastic pollution in the Southern Ocean has detected microplastics in several different regions of the Antarctic. Microplastics could have negative effects on the ecosystem, particularly when ingested by krill or fish species. In this paper, ASOC and COLTO summarize existing research findings and describe some methods for reducing microplastic pollution via the filtration of laundry water. ASOC and COLTO further recommend that:
- All operating vessels and research stations consider ways to limit potential sources of microplastics and microfibers discharged through grey or laundry water. New technologies have already been successfully adopted on some fishing vessels to reduce the amount of microplastic fibers entering the ocean.
- CCAMLR Members and Observers, as well as SC-CAMLR, note the formation of the SCAR Action Group and look for opportunities to participate in microplastics research.
- Research and monitoring plans for marine protected areas (MPAs) adopted by CCAMLR should include microplastic pollution as an area requiring further research.