MICRO– What does it mean?

MICRO is a project in which five scientific institutes will study the occurrence and impact of microplastics in the Interreg 2 Seas area and the Channel region. It’s a cooperation between the Belgian Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries research, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture science in England, the Dutch Stichting Deltares and two French partners: l’Institut Français de Recherche pour l’ Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER) and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).

The project started the first of July 2012 and the crossborder partnership is made until the end of September 2014. The project is funded by the European Interreg 2 Seas programme and is led by ILVO.


Almost all aspects of daily life involve plastics, and consequently the production of plastics has increased substantially the last 60 years. Plastics are persistent materials, which tend to accumulate in the marine environment and affect marine life as they remain there for years. Plastic materials degrade to smaller macro- and microplastic particles, or can enter the environment as small fragments e.g. scrubbers. These basic plastic polymer microplastics cause particular problem when ingested by different organisms. Those particles also contain additives such as UV-stabilizers, colourings, flame retardants and plasticizers, which are transported by the particles and are susceptible for uptake and accumulation by living organisms. The persistent pollutants can accumulate and be transported along the food chain. In the 2 Seas and France Manche Channel area little is known about the impact of microplastics.

Macro-, micro- and nanoplastics

What do we want to achieve?

Within the project, the problem will be analyzed and a risk assessment performed. Via modeling of the 2Seas/Channel area, we will assess the potential hotspots of microplastics in the Region. For each country a hotspot will be assessed and will be rigorously monitored. Samples will be taken in the different compartments of the ecosystem. As it is impossible to screen all residing animals, effects will be analysis on some sentinel species (key species). There will be an evaluation of the effect/impact microplastics and the chemical load.

Besides the risk assessment, also the impact will be assessed on important activities of the region: Impact on Mariculture/aquaculture (Oyster), Tourism (Swimming water quality) and Policy. Additionally the information about the microbial load will be explored. The microbial load potentially contains bacteria with biodegrading capacity what will be evaluated to work out mitigating action and to reduce the microplastics problem.

Circle relationship

Marine litter on facebook Marine litter on facebook


<<<December 2020>>>


Socio-economic impact of microplastics in the 2 Seas, Channel and France Manche Region
Read the full document here.

MICRO movie published!
Fate and impact of microplastics in marine ecosystems

Stakeholder meeting of the INTERREG IVA 2SEAS MICRO project "MICROPLASTICS - Is it a threat for the 2 Seas area"
Date: 10 September 2014 - 14h
Location: ILVO, Ostend (Belgium)

Disclaimer: Printed and online documents must specify that it reflects the author's views and that the Programme Authorities are not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

ILVO  Ifremer  Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)  Cefas  Deltares, Enabling Delta Life  Provincie West-Vlaanderen, door mensen gedreven  Ministerie  Interreg IV A, 'Investing in your future' Crossborder cooperation programme 2007-2013 Part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund)