Scientist, Dr Sarah-Jeanne Royer has discovered that plastic is responsible for more of the methane gas in our sea water. It was previously thought that the gasses were produced by biological activity.
Some members of the lab were experimenting with high density polyethylene bottles looking at methane biological production, but the concentrations were much higher than expected.
So we realised that the emissions were not just coming from the biology but from the bottle that we were using for the experiment.
Dr Sarah-Jeanne Royer
Her research has concluded, unsurprisingly, that it is the plastic used in shopping bags that releases the most gas. The results show this emitted 176 times more methane when measured over a 212 day period.
It is understood that radiation from the sun on the plastic’s surface releases the methane and when the plastic deteriorates through cracking, it’s increased surface area increases it’s ability as an emitter.
This research is seen as important part of understanding global warming and that they are other contributory gasses in addition to Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
Select your next Reboot…
Images credit: Pixabay Creative Commons