Millions of plastic pellets are leaking out into the environment from a manufacturing site in Stenungsund. This has been shown by a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Gothenburg. Despite several international and national sets of regulatory frameworks, the leaking continues.
Small plastic pellets are used as raw materials. The pellets are shipped from the manufacturing site to different plants where they are used in production of various types of plastic goods.
In the recently published study, the researchers also investigated how pellets have spread in the coastal region, and they could see that the plastic pellets end up on nearby beaches, in the fjord and the nearby archipelago.
In contrast to other plastic waste, for example, packaging material, these plastic pellets have never been of any use.
The research team’s calculations show that continuous leakage leads to between 3 and 36 million plastic pellets spreading from the Stenungsund production site every year.
“In order to better understand how plastic pellets end up in the environment, we have documented, measured and calculated the flows of the pellets via waterways leading out from the production and distribution plants in Stenungsund where approximately five percent of the polyethene that is used in Europe is produced,” says Martin Hassellöv, Professor at the Department of Marine Sciences.