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Fibres and filters that reduce pollution

Addressing toxic materials in the marine food chain
We are developing manufacturing and engineering solutions to manage micro- and nanoplastic pollution through an international consortium, including Parley for Oceans (US), Melbourne Water, South Australian Water and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Marine fabric and fibre pollution has increased by more than 450 percentĀ over the past 60 years with devastating impacts on the marine food chain.

We aim to develop clothes, fibres and filters alongside engineering solutions to reduce and eliminate this toxic pollution in the food chain caused by micro- and nano-debris.

Supported by an ARC Linkage grant of $1.36 million over three years, we aim to develop protocols to improve products, protect the environment and reduce health risks.

To achieve this we are developing new nanocharacterisation capabilities within Sydney Analytical. This is being done within the Sydney Nano program "New insights into disease and drug targets: from endogenous biological nanoscale vesicles to engineered nanoparticle".

This approach will help us determine what types of micro- and nano-debris are most toxic to key parts of the marine food chain. From this we can a rational approach to clothes design and develop mitigation methods that reduce environmental impact.

Our broad approach will include: assessment of clothing debris in effluent from washing machines; engineering methods for reducing effluent; studies on water treatment effluent; advanced marine stations designed to mimic complex environmental exposure of the debris to oysters; and a range of other toxicological assays to be conducted by our partner organisations.

Peter Lay

Professor of Chemistry
  • +61 2 9351 3329
  • Room 307 School of Chemistry F11