Synthetically produced plastics have become indispensable in the modern society due to their universal and versatile applicability. At the same time, the pollution of the oceans, but also of our freshwater ecosystems, by plastic represents an increasing problem and results in extremely negative effects on the aquatic ecology. Research on micro plastic (MP) and the associated effects on the ecosystem focuses currently almost exclusively on the oceans. The transport route there, however, leads through our rivers and we know from sediment research that rivers are the fastest transport paths into the oceans. If rivers are disturbed due to anthropogenic influences, the flow characteristics change and transported particles start to settle. Artificial lakes and reservoirs are therefore sinks for sediments, pollutants and MP.
The aim of the project AMSTEL is to gain knowledge on the occurrence of MP in sediment deposition and its effect on the sediment stability by investigating sediment depositions from selected reservoirs. This newly generated information forms the basis for a risk assessment with respect to a possible resuspension of sediments and attached MP. With this new developed knowledge measures can be developed to sustainably tackle the ubiquitous micro plastic problem in the future.
The project AMSTEL is divided in three work packages with the following aims: (i) a determination and balancing method of MPP shall be developed and applied in selected reservoirs, (ii) the influence of MPP on the erosion stability of cohesive sediments shall be investigated, and (iii) a risk assessment regarding a remobilisation of MPP accumulations shall be carried out. This will be done, on the one hand, by sampling natural sediment cores from selected reservoirs and, on the other hand, by basic research to quantify the influence of quantity, size and shape of MP on sediment stability.
Baden-Württemberg Foundation - Elite program for postdoctoral students