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Thijs Bosker in the Media on Microplastics and Whale Poop

Several media published articles on the latest research from a team including Thijs Bosker, Associate Professor Environmental Sciences, last week. The research has shown that whales in the vicinity of Auckland New Zeeland consume three million microplastics a day.

The research concluded that the whales ingest approximately 25,000 microplastics with each mouthful. Bosker: ‘Microplastics are miniscule pieces of plastic that can be found everywhere in nature. Larger pieces of plastic break down, and eventually they become so small that we can’t see them anymore. In our water, in the air, in our food, small bits of plastics are everywhere.’ Microplastics are smaller than five millimetres. The majority found in the whale poop came from their prey, krill and small plankton. They also found that only one in a thousand microplastics came from the whale swallowing water. Bosker is not surprised that microplastics were found in the whale poo, he is surprised, however, by the sheer quantity of it.

Collaboration with local whale safari

This was the first research project that looked at whale poop to determine the scale of the pollution. Bosker: ‘It’s rather difficult to find, because you have to be there when the whale’s pooping.’ Because it was not possible for the researchers to constantly follow whales around, they decided to collaborate with a local whale safari that takes tourist out to look for whales on a daily basis. Bosker: ‘Each time they noticed a whale relieving themselves, they used a small net to scoop it out of the water and send it over to the University in Auckland. It couldn’t have been more simple.’


Read the Drimble article here
Read the Tubantia article here
Read the Telegraaf article here
Read the Moustique article here
Read the Leidsch Dagblad article here
Read the AD article here
Read the Trouw article here
Listen to the NPO Radio 1 interview here
Read the BNNVARA article here
Read the Nederlands Dagblad article here
Read the Dagblad van het Noorden article here
Read the Noordhollands Dagblad article here
Read the PCZ article here
Read the Gelderlander article here
Read the Metrotime article here
Read the 1 News article here
Read the Het Laatste Nieuws article here
Read the NL Times article here
Read the MSN article here

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