Report reveals tyres are a major source of microplastics found in the marine environment

09 June 2020

Article: 54/2307

A report prepared for the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), investigates the sources and pathways of synthetic fibre and vehicle tyre wear contamination into the marine environment.

The study is one of the first to identify tyre particles as a major and additional source of microplastics. Scientists have previously discovered microplastics originating from microbeads in cosmetics and the degradation of larger items, such as carrier bags and plastic bottles, in marine environments globally.

The study shows that tyre particles can be transported directly to the ocean through the atmosphere or be carried by rainwater into rivers and sewers, where they can pass through the water treatment process. The report estimates this could place around 100million m² of the UK’s river network, and more than 50million m² of estuarine and coastal waters, at risk of contamination by tyre particles.

Source: UK Government, 27 May 2020