Toxic Chemicals, Micro Plastics, Ocean Acidification and Climate Change

Time is running out, priority chemical, ocean acidification induced pollution will cause a trophic cascade collapse of the ecosystem in 25 to 40 years


















 1000 tonnes of TBT would kill all life in the Oceans


The world manufactures 30,000 tonnes a year of organic tin as a plasticiser used in PVC, it is still even used as antifouling paint on the hull of container ships. If 1000 tonnes were to dissolve into the oceans all at the one time, it will kill all marine life...everywhere. Plastic is building up in ocean sediment, micro-plastics and nanoplastics are adsorbed by marine life, it ends up back in the food chain and in people.  What Goes Around Comes Around, all marine life and people, now contain nano plastic and priority chemicals. 

Toxic priority chemicals adsorbed onto hydrophobic nano particles such as plastic, from washing your fleece and zeolites used in washing up detergents, concentrate the priority chemicals and inject them into bacteria, algae and plankton.  We depend upon the route of the oceanic food chain for our very survival, it is being destroyed and few people actually know it is happening.  We have around 25 years before a cascade failure, and if we lose the marine ecosystem, the terrestrial system will follow.

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  • The concentration of priority chemicals such as PCBs and PBDE from fire retardants in carpets, cloths and foam products are now off-the-scale in most marine mammals.
  • 90% of all cancers suffered by people are known to be of environmental origin
  • Male fertility has dropped by 50% in Europe due to hormones and endocrine disrupters.
  • Marine mammals as well as humans as a biological defense mechanism, dump toxins into the foetus and in milk. The toxins / priority chemicals are then implicated in causing neurological disorders and are cancer precursors
  • We are not only destroying the ecosystem; we are killing ourselves

Why should we care what happens to the Oceans ?

80% of the worlds oxygen is produced in the oceans by microscopic plants, and 30% of the carbon dioxide is fixed by organisms smaller than 0.05mm.  We know that atmospheric oxygen levels are dropping and carbon dioxide concentrations are increasing.

Most life on earth lives in the oceans, and is too small to seen by eye, according to NASA, the microscopic life forms are dying off at a rate of 1% every year.  This means that almost 1% off all life on the planet is dying every year. Research from Universities such as Dalhousie in Nova Scotia, published in Nature, report that more than 40% of all microscopic life has died since the 1950s, the start of the chemical revolution as opposed to the industrial reveolution.  As a consequence, the oceans are losing their ability to sequester carbon dioxide which means that carbon dioxide concentrations are increasing, making the oceans more acidic.  

The pH (acidity) has dropped from 8.26 to 8.06 over the last 50 years. Over the next 25 to 40 years it will drop to pH7.9, at which point there will be a cascade failure of the marine ecosystem, and we lose all the teleost fish, whales, seals, birds and food supply for 2 billion people.

Increasing temperatures and carbon dioxide, as well as all the nutrients from pollution should increase primary productivity, yet we are see a drop of 1% every year.  This situation is not sustainable, but why is it happening?  we know that it is certainly not climate change. 

Priority chemical pollution in combination with hydrophobic micro and nano particles is the explanation. Reducing CO2 emissions is not going to have any impact, we need to also reduce and eliminate priority chemicals such as PCBs, PBDE, mercury and organic tins.

Activated filter media (AFM) for wastewater treatment

Dryden Aqua up-cycle green container glass to manufacture a water filtration media that replaces sand in the treatment of urban and industrial wastewater and drinking water. We process up to 40,000 tonnes of glass and make sufficient water filter media AFM (Activated Filter Media) to provide the whole of the water industry in the UK. AFM works much better than sand, removing up to 10 times more sub 5 micron particles and will eliminate parasitic infection from cryptosporidium which causes 2% of all disease in Europe and over 50% in the developing world. Given that AFM can filter water down to 1 micron with no coagulation or flocculation, it could potentially eliminate over 60% of all disease in the developing world. AFM is also used in wastewater treatment to remove solids. The European Environment agencies do not monitor priority chemicals in suspension, yet more than 90% of chemicals are bound up in solids discharged by wastewater treatment facilities. Priority substances impact on human health and marine biodiversity and reduce primary productivity in the oceans. The oceans are responsible for up to 90% of our oxygen and CO2 fixation, yet from NASA and other reports, we have lost up to 40% oceanic primary productivity since chemicals started to be manufactured in the 1950’s. Oceanic pH is declining as a consequence, and in 25 to 50 years it will reach pH 7.9. This will cause a trophic cascade collapse of the entire oceanic ecosystem. We are in danger of losing all fish, whales, birds, seals and the food supply for 1.5 billion people. We need to address priority substances and AFM may be part of the solution.

Benefits for business

AFM is manufactured in Scotland and a second production facility is planned for the Netherlands and a third in China over the next 2 to 3 years. Between Dryden Aqua Technology in Scotland and Dryden Aqua Distribution in Switzerland, we currently turn over in excess of 5 million Euro. The production of AFM represents 90% of our business, which is developing exponentially.

Benefits for business

We have been working on this area for many years, AFM has potential to save the oceans, sustain marine life and thereby enhance carbon fixation by the oceans and possibly provide a solution for climate change. Systems are now being rolled out in India, Bangladesh and China for effluent treatment. We have secured the largest textile wastewater treatment plant in Bangladesh operated by DIRD in Dhaka. 10% of all the wastewater in China is from the textile industry and the template developed in Bangladesh may be applied to China. With AFM as part of the solution we aim for zero chemical discharge. The new facility will be online March 2016. Most filter sand is obtained from dredging the sea bed, and rivers, which causes major damage to the environment. In some countries such as India, filter sand mining is banned. Ordinary sand used to make glass is not a problem, because conventional quarries are employed. AFM is therefore protecting delicate environments and ecosystems from the impact of dredging.

The AFM innovation is already delivering a substantial return on investment for Dryden Aqua and offers substantial growth potential. AFM also offers cost-efficiencies for businesses applying AFM technology for water/ wastewater treatment, compared with conventional treatments. Over 95% of conventional water treatment uses sand; AFM replaces sand and can double the performance of the treatment plant. AFM is there considered a disruptive technology that has the potential to transform the industry.

The impact to date on biodiversity is probably marginal and highly localised, with most AFM use currently relating to swimming pool and aquaria treatment, but widespread take-up for the treatment of urban and industrial wastewater could, according to Dryden Aqua claims, make a substantial contribution to reduction of priority substances in the marine environment, with resulting benefits for biodiversity and marine ecosystem services. For example, the textile industry in Bangladesh and China accounts for 2-3% of global waste water and a high percentage of

Innovation for business and biodiversity

Rapid Assessment Dryden Aqua

PAH pollution. Application of AFM to the entire industry could substantially reduce PAH input to fresh and marine waters.


Our market is the entire water industry, already we have AFM in 80% of the pool industry in Switzerland, 30% in Germany. We have over 1 million people on our drinking water systems in Africa and we are starting to remove arsenic from water in India (see We already work around the world, the potential scale is all water treatment systems for waste water as well as drinking water. Implications are that we prevent a complete collapse of the oceanic and terrestrial ecosystems. We have been given the province of Sichuan in China in co- operating with the Chinese Government, LMC and Empyreal Environmental in Beijing to employ AFM for the treatment of the water supply to 80 million people. The first systems will be installed by November 2015. Tests are in progress with Dragon Steel in Taiwan and China Steel to treat all of their waste water. This represents around 1% of the waste water in China. Dragon Steel treats and tries to recycle 18,000m3/hr of water.

Scottish Government to understand that barriers placed on SME companies that restricts the adoption of SME technology in Europe. The group are now proving support and we see some of the barriers being removed. In the developing world they are much quicker to adopt new technology because the problems and issues are much more serious (if 80% of your population suffer from disease from drinking water, then you deal with the problem). With regards to effluent, we are working with Chairman Ren from Empyreal Environmental and Aqua Solutions from Hong Kong, they are fully aware that the economy is not sustainable unless they protect the environment. This is why we are now providing some very large-scale installation in China and Bangladesh. Potential actions to accelerate uptake: Enabling actions: The EU should provide the mechanism to allow SME companies access to multinationals and NGOs. There must be a common standards and certification (ETV) process that is accepted by the water industry. Currently SME companies have to go through testing with every single client. Research and innovation needs: AFM works by mechanical filtration for particles larger than 40 microns and by electrostatic adsorption for the sub 40 micron particles. The activation process of AFM is by a SolGel technique that we use to shape the aluminosilicate surface structure. Surface area is increased from 3000m2 to 1,000,000m2 per metric tonnes, we can also change the molecular sieve adsorption selectivity of AFM. Hutton Research in Dundee Scotland have confirmed that we can remove Oestrogen hormone, we can also manufacture AFM that has high specificity to remove chemicals such as endocrine disrupters from drinking water at parts per billion concentration. Research is underway to

There is a large potential market for AFM with clear indications that there is substantial interest from major polluters in taking up the technology on a significant scale. The innovation itself is scalable in that unit production costs are likely to decrease as volume grows.


Barriers to development of the opportunity. The water industry is completely risk averse. Most technology comes out of SME companies, yet it takes a minimum of 10 years to get a product to market with the water companies. No SME company can cope with this time scale. As a consequence the water industry are at least 20 years behind current technology. We have now reached a size and position that we can start to have some influence. Dryden Aqua works with the Scottish Hydro Nation Committee with the NGO Scottish Water and the

further increase surface area and molecular sAieFvMe tested and proven. There appear to be considerable constraints in terms of uptake by major water and wastewater companies in Europe, less so in the developing world. Significant upscaling in Europe is likely to require strengthening of regulatory controls on priority substances in water and the marine


Innovation for business and biodiversity

Rapid Assessment Dryden Aqua

Public-private partnership

YES. Dryden Aqua works with the public sector in Scotland for the supply of nearly 100% of glass feed-stock materials, and is also trying to establish community enterprises to assist with the collection of glass (an approach likely to work well, not only in Europe, but in countries such as India). Dryden Aqua works with the public sector water companies in Scotland and Ireland to deliver water treatment. In China it is now looking at a joint venture to construct glass bottle recycling facilities and to provide technology for water treatment. Dryden Aqua has to work with the public sector in most cases for its glass supplies and for municipal wastewater as well as drinking water.


Coral bleaching may not be due to climate change

Coral are a symbiotic organism between a filter feeding animal and an algae. We know that priority chemicals will be adsorbed onto hydrophobic particles such as plastic, if therefore follows that corals will likely have a higher concentration of priority chemicals.

Priority chemicals will therefore be concentration in the coral. Water temperature will of course cause also cause bleaching, but a high temperature is likely to make the priority chemicals more toxic. The question now is which parameter is the most important. states that the priority chemicals are more relevant.

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'Extraordinary' levels of pollutants found in 10km deep Mariana trench

The Guardian 13th Feb 2017

Newcastle University marine science department have discovered “extraordinary” levels of toxic pollution in the most remote and inaccessible place on the planet – the 10km deep Mariana trench in the Pacific Ocean.

Small crustaceans that live in the pitch-black waters of the trench, captured by a robotic submarine, were contaminated with 50 times more toxic chemicals than crabs that survive in heavily polluted rivers in China.

“We still think of the deep ocean as being this remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact, but our research shows that, sadly, this could not be further from the truth,” said Alan Jamieson of Newcastle University in the UK, who led the research.

“The fact that we found such extraordinary levels of these pollutants really brings home the long-term, devastating impact that mankind is having on the planet,” he said.

Jamieson’s team identified two key types of severely toxic industrial chemicals that were banned in the late 1970s, but do not break down in the environment, known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). These chemicals have previously been found at high levels in Inuit people in the Canadian Arctic and in killer whales and dolphins in western Europe.

The research, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, suggests that the POPs infiltrate the deepest parts of the oceans as dead animals and particles of plastic fall downwards. POPs accumulate in fat and are therefore concentrated in creatures up the food chain. They are also water-repellent and so stick to plastic waste.