Press release 2020-05-14

New project to reduce microplastics in the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea

IVL is starting a new project in China aiming to prevent and reduce microplastic pollution from land-based sources to the sea. This will be done through pilot work in textile industries and wastewater treatment plants in Bohai and the Yellow sea coastal areas. The project is supported by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and was launched officially in China at the end of April.

Research shows that microplastics are found wildly spread in the seawater, sediment and zooplanktons in the coastal regions of Bohai and the Yellow Sea. This has drawn great attention both from researchers and the local government in Qingdao.

The project will look into textile-based microplastic pollution prevention and reduction in wastewater treatment plants and textile industry in Qingdao and prepare for studies in larger scale chemical about fiber production in Yangze river Delta region. Departing from a science- and evidence-based source-to-sea approach as well as active engagement from research, industry and policy representatives, the project aims to contribute to China’s implementation of and Sino-Swedish collaboration for Agenda 2030, Sustainable Development Goal 12 and 14 reaching for a responsible consumption and production and a sustainably use of the oceans.

The consortium is lead by IVL and includes leading research institutions and universities from China and Sweden and policy and industry partners.

– This project has a short project period, but it is of great significance. We hope that the output of this project can lay the foundation for further research and application in the future. Moreover, through platform building, policy suggestions and capacity improvement, the influence of the project can be expanded to ensure the continuation of follow-up activities and ultimately reduce the emissions of land-based micro-plastics to the ocean, says Zhu Yanjing project manager at IVL China.

Kick-off meeting for the project

On April 29th, IVL organized an online and offline jointly kick-off meeting for the project. Representatives from Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Embassy of Sweden, Institute of Oceanology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China Textile Information Center, Nankai University, and the Ellen-MacArthur Foundation attended the meeting.

– I'm very glad to attend this meeting. At present, the cooperation between Swedish EPA and China mainly focus on three themes; climate change, sustainable consumption and production, and waste management and circular economy. This project is in line with two of these themes and we hope to take this project as a starting point to develop more bilateral cooperation projects, said Ping Höjding at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

– This is the first cooperation project between China and Sweden in microplastics. We are very glad to see that this project has the participation of both our old friends and new friends, which shows that the scope of cooperation between China and Sweden is expanding. Microplastics is a relatively new but challenging issue. I think this project is a very good start. The Swedish Embassy and the Swedish Ministries will continue to follow up the implementation of the project and provide support, said Nannan Lundin, counsellor of the Swedish Embassy.

At the end of the meeting, all participants had a discussion on some "hot spots" and "key points", such as: Why there is a big difference in removal efficiency of micro-plastics in WWTPs between China and Nordic countries? And where the fiber-based microplastics in the oceans are mainly from, the fiber production or consumption? In addition, the experts had a discussion on the strategic positioning and research ideas of the project.

Read the article in Chinese.

For more information, please contact:
Zhu Yanjing, yanjing.zhu@ivl.se, phone +86 18-611 588 305