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Plastic pollution in the South Pacific subtropical gyre. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 68, 71-76

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Plastic pollution in the South Pacific subtropical gyre. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 68, 71-76

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... Surface samples taken in the Great Lakes have shown high plastic concentrations, which are even higher than average concentrations in North Atlantic and South Pacific [21][22][23]. Of the Great Lakes systems, Lake Erie often reports some of the highest surface plastic concentrations [20,21,23,24]. ...
... Surface samples taken in the Great Lakes have shown high plastic concentrations, which are even higher than average concentrations in North Atlantic and South Pacific [21][22][23]. Of the Great Lakes systems, Lake Erie often reports some of the highest surface plastic concentrations [20,21,23,24]. Lake Erie is also an important source of fresh water for the region, and plastic has been found in tap water originating from the lake [25]. ...
Article
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Mass estimates of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes based on surface samples differ by orders of magnitude from what is predicted by production and input rates. It has been theorized that a potential location of this missing plastic is on beaches and in nearshore water. We incorporate a terrain dependent beaching model to an existing hydrodynamic model for Lake Erie which includes three dimensional advection, turbulent mixing, density driven sinking, and deposition into the sediment. When examining parameter choices, in all simulations the majority of plastic in the lake is beached, potentially identifying a reservoir holding a large percentage of the lake’s plastic which in previous studies has not been taken into account. The absolute amount of beached plastic is dependent on the parameter choices. We also find beached plastic does not accumulate homogeneously through the lake, with eastern regions of the lake, especially those downstream of population centers, most likely to be impacted. This effort constitutes a step towards identifying sinks of missing plastic in large bodies of water.
... The presence and location of the garbage patches in the South Atlantic and South Pacific were predicted by surface drifter models (Lebreton et al., 2012;Maximenko et al., 2012;van Sebille et al., 2012), but these accumulations were not confirmed by observational studies until 2014 (Ryan, 2014) and 2013 (Eriksen et al., 2013) respectively. Pabortsava and Lampitt (2020) conducted sampling along a 10,000 km north-south transect from the North to the South Atlantic and reported the lowest concentrations of plastics in the region of the South Atlantic gyre, and only one estimation of an average abundance of 26,898 microplastic particles km -2 in the South Pacific gyre during the initial study that confirmed its existence (Eriksen et al., 2013). ...
... The presence and location of the garbage patches in the South Atlantic and South Pacific were predicted by surface drifter models (Lebreton et al., 2012;Maximenko et al., 2012;van Sebille et al., 2012), but these accumulations were not confirmed by observational studies until 2014 (Ryan, 2014) and 2013 (Eriksen et al., 2013) respectively. Pabortsava and Lampitt (2020) conducted sampling along a 10,000 km north-south transect from the North to the South Atlantic and reported the lowest concentrations of plastics in the region of the South Atlantic gyre, and only one estimation of an average abundance of 26,898 microplastic particles km -2 in the South Pacific gyre during the initial study that confirmed its existence (Eriksen et al., 2013). There is still significant scope for research in the Southern Hemisphere as a whole with regards to plastic pollution, to gain a greater understanding of the extent of these accumulations, as well as their global significance and potential transport pathways. ...
Thesis
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Plastic pollution is ubiquitous within the marine environment, found on coastlines, at the sea surface, within the water column, on the seafloor, in deep-sea sediments, and in sea ice at both Poles. However, the transport pathways and processes that determine the three-dimensional distribution of plastics in the global ocean are still not yet fully understood. In this thesis, the three-dimensional distribution of plastics is investigated using an ocean general circulation model, in a range of different scenarios. Firstly, the distribution of positively, neutrally, and negatively buoyant plastics in the global ocean with no processes of removal is explored. This reveals that plastics of different densities inhabit different regions of the ocean: buoyant plastics reside at the sea surface in subtropical gyres, with model results suggesting the possibility of an unreported ‘garbage patch’ in the Gulf of Guinea; neutrally buoyant plastics are present throughout the whole of the water column; negatively buoyant plastics sink and settle coastally, but are also transported to abyssal plains and trenches. Secondly, the accumulation and transport of microplastics in sea ice, in both the Arctic and Southern oceans is investigated. Arctic sea ice is most susceptible to buoyant microplastic pollution, with a predicted distribution reflecting observations, whereas Southern Ocean sea ice is more susceptible to neutrally buoyant microplastics, although observational evidence is too limited to validate these results. Finally, building upon existing modelling research, the effects of biofouling on the vertical and horizontal distribution of a range of small microplastics, both with and without the effects of strong vertical mixing are considered. The impact of density changes caused by biofouling are size-dependent and independent of vertical mixing, with 10 μm microplastics most affected by biofouling in the model. However, this is a complex problem with many variables to consider and requires further, detailed research. While this thesis has shed light on some aspects of the subject of marine microplastics, there are still significant gaps in our knowledge of the global distribution and behaviour of marine plastics.
... Some of the topics more frequently addressed in these studies include: quantity and type of microplastics present in water bodies, main primary and secondary sources, and potential effects of microplastics in ecosystems. There are examples in different cities around the world, such as in China where up to 12,611 MPs/m 3 have been detected in surface water (Di and Wang, 2018), 91,000 MPs/km 2 in Swiss surface water (Faure et al., 2015), 466, 305 MPs/km 2 in surface water in the United States (Eriksen et al., 2013), and even in distant places such as the Arctic in Sea Ice Polar waters samples up to 234 MPs/m 3 ice have been found (Obbard et al., 2014). Most studies agree that the main identified microplastic morphology is fibers, followed by fragments; likewise these studies reveal that the more abundant chemical compositions can be highly dependent on the environmental compartment. ...
... In contrast, studies like the one carried out by Johnson et al., (2018) in the subsurface waters of Costa Rica Thermal Dome, concluded that neither the sampling site location nor the predominant currents of the region provided insights about the possible pathways followed by microplastics. Another study exemplifying microplastic transport in the sea was carried out by Eriksen et al., (2013), who assessed plastic pollution at the open-ocean South Pacific subtropical gyre (SPSG). These so-called garbage patches are formed by plastic garbage, including microplastic that originated either from the sea or land-based sources. ...
Article
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A literature review was carried out to analyze the current status of microplastic research in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Specifically, this work focused on publications pertaining to (1) occurrence and distribution of microplastics in the environment, including water, sediments, and soil and (2) the environmental impact of MPs, particularly their presence and effects on aquatic and terrestrial organisms. The review included peer-reviewed articles from Scopus, Science Direct, Web of Science, Google Scholar and two iberoamerican open access databases (Redalyc and SciELO). It was found that LAC has only contributed to 5% of the global scientific output on microplastics, and overall the highest contributor within the region was Brazil (52%), followed by Chile (16%) and Mexico (13%). An additional section analyzing the barriers to conducting microplastic research in LAC and their exacerbation by the current COVID-19 pandemic was included to provide additional context behind the relatively low scientific production and improve recommendations encouraging research in this region.
... mm. This result is consistent with other studies conducted at the Mediterranean Sea Compa et al., 2020;Suaria et al., 2016) and elsewhere (Cózar et al., 2015;Eriksen et al., 2013;Lusher et al., 2014). Only 8% (n = 191) of the total plastic dataset has a dimension smaller than 1 mm in length ( Fig. 3.a). ...
... The spatial distribution and impacts of this size fraction of plastic particles on marine organisms still represent a challenging issue to be addressed by the scientific community. The hypothesis of their potential loss from the water surface has been widely accepted in the literature for both the Mediterranean Sea (Cózar et al., 2015;Pedrotti et al., 2016;Ruiz-Orejón et al., 2018;Zeri et al., 2018) and ocean basins (Cózar et al., 2015;Eriksen et al., 2013;Hidalgo-Ruz et al., 2012), as well as their presence in a wide range of marine organisms, was reported (Corazzola et al., 2021;Giani et al., 2019;Schirinzi et al., 2020). According to that, since small microplastics occupy the same size fraction of several planktonic organisms, they are potentially bioavailable to a wide range of species through direct ingestion during the feeding activities or indirectly through contaminated prey. ...
Article
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Plastic pollution in the Mediterranean Sea has been widely reported, but its impact on biodiversity has not been fully explored. Simultaneous sampling of microplastics (MP) with a manta net and surveys of large marine vertebrates were conducted along the coastal waters of Sicily (Western Ionian Sea). A total of 17 neustonic samples have been collected and 17 marine species (cetaceans, sea turtles, seabirds, and fish) have been sighted in the target area. Kernel density estimation was evaluated to highlight a possible overlap between the presence of large marine fauna and MP densities to provide a preliminary risk assessment. The highest biodiversity and MP concentration (0.197 ± 0.130 items/m²) were observed in the southernmost part of the studied area. The overlap between biodiversity hotspots and the occurrence of MP, potential contribute to the identification of sensitive areas of exposure in a poorly studied region.
... Plastic polymers can persist in the marine environment, with items potentially transported large distances and often accumulating in convergence zones, including ocean gyres, or on the seabed in high concentrations (Eriksen et al., 2013b;Law et al., 2010;Maximenko et al., 2019). The distribution of plastic contamination has been shown to fluctuate both spatially and temporally on a global scale (Barrows et al., 2018;Law et al., 2010) and is driven by multiple mechanisms, including wind speed and direction, surface currents, and river discharge (Brunner et al., 2015;Kukulka et al., 2012). ...
... Combining three years of data, plastic items were identified across all surface seawater tows conducted at the SS Yongala NRS except one (98%), which is comparable to reports of plastic pollution in surface tows conducted in the South Pacific Oceans (96%) (Eriksen et al., 2013b), and in other Australian waters (between 80% and 100% of surface tows sampled) (Jensen et al., 2019;Reisser et al., 2013). Estimates of mean plastic loading at the SS Yongala NRS (0.13 ± 0.17 S.D. plastics m − 3 ) are comparable to previous findings in surface waters (0.04-0.48 microplastics m − 3 ) in both the central (Jensen et al., 2019) and northern sections of the GBR Marine Park. ...
Article
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Plastic pollution is ubiquitous within the marine environment, including surface waters, water column and benthic sediments. Marine plastic contamination is expected to increase if future projections of increased plastic production eventuate. Conversely, national and international efforts are aiming to reduce marine plastic contamination. In this context, scientists, managers and the general public are increasingly interested in understanding the status and temporal trends of plastic contamination in the marine environment. Presented here is the first temporal assessment of plastic contamination in surface waters of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Specifically, duplicate surface seawater samples (n = 66) were collected at the SS Yongala shipwreck (Central GBR) monthly from September 2016 to September 2019 and analysed for plastic presence and abundance. The processing workflow involved density separation, followed by filtration, visual identification and sizing of putative plastics using stereomicroscopy, and chemical characterisation using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. A total of 533 plastic items were identified across all tows, consisting of macro-, meso- and microplastic fragments and fibres, with polypropylene and polyethylene being the most common polymers. Plastic contamination was detected in every replicate tow, bar one. Plastic concentrations fluctuated and spiked every three months, although contamination did not significantly alter across the three-year period. Wind speed, salinity and river discharge volume, but not surface current speed nor sea surface temperature, had a significant influence on the levels of plastic contamination. This study reveals, for the first time, the chronic presence of plastic debris in the surface waters of the GBR highlighting the need for long-term and on-going monitoring of the marine environment for plastic contamination.
... Influenced by geographic factors, ocean currents, plastic buoyancy (see Glossary) and marine organisms, plastic debris can accumulate in certain areas. For example, the five major ocean gyres (see Glossary) accumulate high concentrations of floating plastic debris due to ocean currents and wind patterns (Cózar et al., 2014;Eriksen et al., 2013Eriksen et al., , 2016Lebreton et al., 2018;Moore et al., 2001;Pabortsava and Lampitt, 2020;Poulain et al., 2019;van Sebille et al., 2015). These gyres are also called oceanic 'garbage patches' (Lebreton et al., 2018;van Sebille et al., 2012) (see Glossary). ...
Technical Report
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A new report commissioned by WWF provides the most comprehensive account to date of the extent to which plastic pollution is affecting the global ocean, the impacts it’s having on marine species and ecosystems, and how these trends are likely to develop in future. The report by researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) reveals a serious and rapidly worsening situation that demands immediate and concerted international action: ● Today almost every species group in the ocean has encountered plastic pollution, with scientists observing negative effects in almost 90% of assessed species. ● Not only has plastic pollution entered the marine food web, it is significantly affecting the productivity of some of the world’s most important marine ecosystems like coral reefs and mangroves. ● Several key global regions – including areas in the Mediterranean, the East China and Yellow Seas and Arctic sea ice – have already exceeded plastic pollution thresholds beyond which significant ecological risks can occur, and several more regions are expected to follow suit in the coming years. ● If all plastic pollution inputs stopped today, marine microplastic levels would still more than double by 2050 – and some scenarios project a 50-fold increase by 2100.
... Six hundred juvenile shrimp of similar size were selected and randomly divided into five groups (0, 5, 10, 20, 40 mg/L polystyrene nanoplastic concentrations). These particular nanoplastic concentrations were based on a 96 h LC50 obtained from previous studies , and were chosen to be environmentally relevant in surface water (Dubaish and Liebezeit, 2013;Eriksen et al., 2013). Each group containing 40 juvenile shrimp (22.96 ± 3.87 mm in body length, 0.14 ± 0.06 g in weight) was cultured in three replicate glass tanks (35 × 27 × 24 cm). ...
Article
Nanoplastic, ubiquitous in aquatic environments, are raising concern worldwide. However, studies on nanoplastic exposure and its effects on ion transport in aquatic organisms are limited. In this study, the juvenile oriental river shrimp, Macrobrachium nipponense, was exposed to five levels of nanoplastic concentrations (0, 5, 10, 20, 40 mg/L) in order to evaluate cell viability, ion content, ion transport, ATPase activity, and related gene expression. The results showed that the apoptosis rate was higher in the high concentration nanoplastic group (40 mg/L) compared to the low concentration nanoplastic group (5 mg/L) and the control group (0 mg/L). The ion content of sodium (Na⁺), potassium (K⁺), chloride (Cl⁻), and calcium (Ca²⁺) showed a decreasing trend in gill tissue compared to the control group. The Na⁺K⁺-ATPase, V(H)-ATPase, Ca²⁺Mg²⁺-ATPase, and total ATPase activities in the gills of M. nipponense showed a general decrease with the increasement of nanoplastic concentration and time of exposure. When increasing nanoplastic concentration, the expression of ion transport-related genes in the gills of M. nipponense showed first rise then descend trend. As elucidated by the results, high nanoplastic concentrations have negative effect on cell viability, ion content, ion transport ATPase activity, and ion transport-related gene expression in the gills of M. nipponense. This research provides a theoretical foundation for the toxic effects of nanoplastic in aquaculture.
... Data on the number of microplastics in sea waters and sediments of the nearshore and offshore areas of coastal Ghana were not readily available, but the relatively lower numbers of microplastics in the freshwater fishes compared to the marine fishes suggest plastic pollution and ingestion might be more severe in the marine environment than the freshwater ecosystems connecting the plastic sources in urban areas to the marine environment. It is worth noting that while there is a paucity of information and fragmentation of data on microplastics in freshwater ecosystems [26], plastic abundance in the oceanic gyres has often been reported to exceed that of zooplankton [27]. Thus, microplastics are ubiquitous but their prevalence from one environment to another is highly heterogeneous [28] and it appears plastic prevalence in the nearshore and offshore areas of Coastal Ghana are higher than the urban riverine system investigated in this study. ...
Article
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Urban riverine systems serve as conduits for the transport of plastic waste from the terrestrial dumpsites to marine repositories. This study presented data on the occurrence of microplastics in water, sediment, Bagrid Catfish (Chrysichthys nigrodigitatus) and Black-chinned Tilapia (Sarotherodon melanotheron) from the Densu River, an urban riverine system in Ghana. Microplastics were extracted from the samples collected from both the lentic and lotic sections of the river. The results indicated widespread pollution of the Densu River with microplastics in all the compartments studied. The average numbers of microplastic particles deposited in the Dam (2.0 ± 0.58) and Delta (2.50 ± 0.48) sections of the river were not affected by the differences in their hydrology. However, the stagnant water system of the Dam promoted the floating of larger-sized microplastics while the flowing waters of the Delta did not show any selectivity in the deposition of microplastics between sediment and the water column. The number of microplastics ingestions by the Bagrid Catfish (2.88 ± 2.11) was similar to the Black-chinned Tilapia (2.38 ± 1.66) but both species ingested lower numbers of microplastics than reported for marine fish species in coastal Ghana.
... Since nanoplastics are difficult detected in the environment and can be originated by the degradation of plastics/microplastics, their concentration in the environment may be directly correlated with the concentration of plastics/microplastics (Rocha-Santos et al., 2019;Yu et al., 2020). Therefore, the nanoplastic concentrations in the present study were chosen based on previous studies that detected the presence of microplastics in the environment and the concentration of plastics in surface water can reach up 0.5 and 8.5 mg/L in South Pacific gyre and southern North Sea respectively (Dubaish and Liebezeit, 2013;Eriksen et al., 2013;Sendra et al., 2019). The concentrations of nanoplastics in the chronic exposure experiment were 0, 5, 10, 20 and 40 mg/L, and the solution volume was 3 L. ...
Article
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Nanoplastic pollution has become a major issue in the aquatic environment while there are few studies examined the effects of nanoplastic exposure on crustaceans. To investigate this issue, we exposed juvenile shrimp, Macrobrachium nipponense to 75 nm polystyrene with 0, 5, 10, 20 and 40 mg/L nanoplastics concentrations for 28 days. The effects of nanoplastic exposure on the microstructure of the hepatopancreas, digestive enzyme activity and expression of growth-related genes were studied. The results showed that (1) adverse effects on the hepatopancreas were positively correlated with nanoplastic concentration; (David et al.) the activity of lipase, trypsin and pepsin was initially promoted and then inhibited with increasing nanoplastic concentration, whereas the activity of amylase was not significantly affected; (3) molting-associated genes were initially promoted and then inhibited with increasing nanoplastic concentration; (4) CDK2 gene was first cloned and molecular characteristics were analyzed. (5) polystyrene nanoplastics concentration >10 mg/L showed inhibition effect on CDK2 expression. These results indicated that nanoplastics affect the growth, digestive enzyme activity, hepatopancreas function and growth-related gene expression. Capsule: Our results identified the effects of nanoplastics on the growth performance of Macrobrachium nipponense in terms of digestion and molting.
... The average particle size of the HDPE and PPE microplastics, calculated from Fig. 1A, was 0.530 mm and 0.545 mm, respectively. The size distribution obtained was similar to the size range of microplastics found during field sampling studies (Desforges et al., 2014;Eriksen et al., 2013;Gajšt et al., 2016;Kanhai et al., 2017;Klein et al., 2015), as shown on Figure S1. Therefore, the procedure developed was able to produce a microplastic material with a size distribution representative of environmental microplastics. ...
Article
When released in the environment, microplastics undergo surface weathering due to mechanical abrasion and ultraviolet exposure. In this study, the adsorption of two model contaminants, phenanthrene and methylene blue, by weathered high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PPE) was evaluated to understand how the microplastics’ aging influences contaminant adsorption. Microplastics were aged through an accelerated weathering process using ultraviolet exposure with or without hydrogen peroxide. Adsorption isotherms were conducted for both contaminants on pristine and aged microplastics. The adsorption of organic contaminants was higher on aged microplastics than on pristine ones, with methylene blue having the highest affinity increase with aging at 4.7-fold and phenanthrene having a 1.9-fold increase compared to the pristine particles. To understand the mechanisms involved with higher adsorption of contaminants by aged microplastics, changes in the specific surface area and surface chemistry of aged microplastics were characterized by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, zeta potential, X-ray tomography, and Brunauer–Emmett–Teller krypton adsorption analyses. The results of this study show that oxidation of microplastics can enhance the adsorption of organic contaminants, which may increase their role as vectors of contaminants in the aquatic food chain.
... Additionally, also shape of plastics strongly affects exposed surface area, which can be important for transportation processes and chemical leakage (Schwarz et al., 2019). Shape groups observed in previous studies are the hard plastics (solid pieces), pellets (pre production), films (thin layered), and fibers (elongated lines) (Eriksen et al., 2013;Free et al., 2014). Therefore it is clear from present study that among the identified plastics near river bank, most of them were used for packaging (food item, cosmetics, industry), single used plastic materials. ...
Article
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Plastic pollution near rivers is of high concern because of its persistence in the environment and its potential impact on ecosystems. However, there is a specific lack of data in rivers of Bangladesh. Here we present data from the five different part of Buriganga river banks. Active sampling from each site was in quadrat of 1 m 2 located downstream in the estuary in a visual maximum along a 1 km shore covered by plastics. A total maximum 35 plastic debris items were individually counted from Zinzira, According to classified item and weight, load of plastic debris were zinzira>gabtoli>postogolla>fatulla>bosila respectively. It is obvious that last two or three decades, the quantity of plastic wastes has increased due to industrial and human activity near Buriganga river. Therefore, impact on fish biodiversity, fishing activity (clogging in net), and livelihood of local fisherman are affected. Thus, government intervention on illegal dumping of plastic waste, strict law implementation and awareness building among people become key concerns to save the Buriganga river from plastic pollution.
... Those floating materials originated from mixed sources and accumulated in the convergence zones of the five subtropical gyres with high density (Andrady, 2017;Cózar et al., 2014). The so called "garbage patch" could be one of the most shocking scenes in the field of marine pollution (Eriksen et al., 2013;Lebreton et al., 2018b;Lebreton et al., 2012). It acts as floating sources of plastics in open oceans and vectors for a variety of microorganisms and persistent pollutants (Nizzetto et al., 2016;Weinstein et al., 2016). ...
Article
The rapid development of modern society has largely increased the usage of plastic. Concerns arise when vast amount of plastic waste has been generated and disposed. The accumulated evidences suggest that plastic waste in all the natural matrixes has become a global contaminant, principles such as geological and biogeochemical cycles for plastic pollution have been proposed. Before a full estimation of plastic mass flow, however, the pathways, directions and influences involved in plastic transportation are warranted to be addressed. We made this critical review based on the quantitative and narrative approaches in plastic and microplastic sources, sinks and transportation at global and historical scales. We also addressed the roles of anthropogenic influences in the global transportation of microplastic. The hydrological, meteorological, oceanic and even biological progresses naturally influence the plastic cycle and flow directions within the Earth's Four Spheres. Anthropogenic activities participated in all sections of plastic transportation, from sources to sinks. The contribution from anthropogenic activities remains unknown but several point sources including primary emissions and landfills have been confirmed. The primary outcomes point out that plastic pollution is highly complex issues in terms of natural and human-driven dynamics. We suggested that more efforts were needed in seeking the key sections in plastic transportation between environmental compartments at a global scale.
... The distribution and accumulation of MFs in the oceans worldwide are governed by oceanographic processes that control the transport and the resulting distribution of plastic debris on all spatial scales, ranging from the ocean gyres to beaches (van Sebille et al., 2020); MFs at the surface of the ocean are affected by currents, winds, and according to Lima et al. (2021), are predicted to accumulate in regions of slow cold surface currents and dense surface water-masses. In addition, some authors have suggested that currents are constantly moving these particles into the open ocean and to higher latitudes, predicting that MP accumulation is occurring towards the poles (Eriksen et al., 2013;Bergmann et al., 2017;Cózar et al., 2017;Isobe et al., 2017;Barrows et al., 2018). However, data is still scarce for many regions, especially in open water environments of southern latitudes (Gago et al., 2018;Lindeque et al., 2020;Tirelli et al., 2020). ...
Article
Microplastics debris in the marine environment have been widely studied across the globe. Within these particles, the most abundant and prevalent type in the oceans are anthropogenic microfibers (MFs), although they have been historically overlooked mostly due to methodological constraints. MFs are currently considered omnipresent in natural environments, however, contrary to the Northern Hemisphere, data on their abundance and distribution in Southern Oceans ecosystems are still scarce, in particular for sub-Antarctic regions. Using Niskin bottles we've explored microfibers abundance and distribution in the water column (3–2450 m depth) at the Burdwood Bank (BB), a seamount located at the southern extreme of the Patagonian shelf, in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean. The MFs detected from filtered water samples were photographed and measured using ImageJ software, to estimate length, width, and the projected surface area of each particle. Our results indicate that small pieces of fibers are widespread in the water column at the BB (mean of 17.4 ± 12.6 MFs.L⁻¹), from which, 10.6 ± 5.3 MFs.L⁻¹ were at the surface (3–10 m depth), 20 ± 9 MFs.L⁻¹ in intermediate waters (41–97 m), 24.6 ± 17.3 MFs.L⁻¹ in deeper waters (102–164 m), and 9.2 ± 5.3 MFs.L⁻¹ within the slope break of the seamount. Approximately 76.1% of the MFs were composed of Polyethylene terephthalate, and the abundance was dominated by the size fraction from 0.1 to 0.3 mm of length. Given the high relative abundance of small and aged MFs, and the oceanographic complexity of the study area, we postulate that MFs are most likely transported to the BB via the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Our findings imply that this sub-Antarctic protected ecosystem is highly exposed to microplastic pollution, and this threat could be spreading towards the highly productive waters, north of the study area.
... Studies have documented that at least 690 marine species ingest MPs, with at least 17% of affected species listed as threatened or near-threatened [11]. Because of their relatively stable chemical properties and non-degradability, MPs are continually detected in oceans, rivers, lakes, glaciers, polar regions, and organisms worldwide [12][13][14][15]. ...
Article
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Increasingly serious microplastic pollution in coastal areas and the ecological threats associated with plastics have attracted global attention. The frequency and intensity of typhoons have increased owing to global warming, strongly influencing the distribution and composition of microplastics in coastal ecosystems. In this study, the abundance, composition, diversity, and flux of microplastics in three estuaries and one sewage outlet in Zhanjiang Bay (ZJB) were analyzed. The average abundance of microplastics from land-based sources increased 3.6-fold from 14.19 � 3.60 items/L before Typhoon Kompasu to 51.19 � 28.53 items/L after the typhoon (p < 0.05). In addition, the proportion of fiber and large microplastics increased after the typhoon. In all samples, microplastics 100–330 �m in size were predominant, and blue was the most abundant color. The diversity in the color and size of microplastics increased after Typhoon Kompasu. The total daily flux of microplastics at the four stations entering ZJB was 3.95 � 1011 items before the typhoon and 9.93 � 1011 items after the typhoon, showing a 2.5-fold increase. This study demonstrated the influence of Typhoon Kompasu on microplastics from land-based sources of ZJB coastal waters and provided vital data for further study on MP pollution in coastal water ecosystems and the impact of typhoons on microplastics.
... For the accuracy in quantifying different MPs, as shown in Table 1, the mean recoveries of visual inspection (n = 7) were found to be 70.2-127% that were comparable to other studies using visual identification [29][30][31]. The concentration of MPs in each of the solutions was determined by the mean diameter of MPs, where deviations in diameter of the MPs may contribute to the percentage variations and sometimes lead to recovery over 100%. ...
Article
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The most frequently used method to quantify microplastics (MPs) visually by microscope is time consuming and labour intensive, where the method is also hindered by the size limitation at 10 µm or even higher. A method is proposed to perform pre-concentration of MPs by vacuum filtration, hydrogen peroxide wet digestion, fluorescent staining and flow cytometric determination to rapidly detect and quantify small MPs sized from 1–50 µm. The method performance was evaluated by the spiking of seven different types of polymer, including polystyrene (PS), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polylactic acid (PLA) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) at different levels (400, 4000, 40,000 particles mL−1), with a satisfactory overall % recoveries (101 ± 19.4%) observed, where in general no significant difference between the two methods was observed. Furthermore, a pre-concentration process by vacuum filtration was introduced to reduce the matrix effect. After pre-concentration, satisfactory % recoveries and accuracy in MP counts resulted from both ultrapure water (94.33 ± 11.16%) and sea water (103.17 ± 9.50%) samples. The validated method using flow cytometry can be used to quantify MPs in environmental water samples that can reduce time and human resources.
... The distribution of microplastics in surface seawater is affected by various factors, including winds, currents, and human activities (Law et al., 2010;Yonkos et al., 2014;. Previous studies have investigated the effects of ocean currents in open oceans on plastic distributions and found that large amounts of microplastics accumulated in the convergence zones of the subtropical circulation (Cozar et al., 2014;Brunner et al., 2015;Lebreton et al., 2017;Zhang et al., 2020), resulting in plastic litter belts that have high microplastic contents (Cole et al., 2011;Eriksen et al., 2013). In bays and estuaries, the distribution of microplastics was affected primarily by human activities (Yonkos et al., 2014). ...
Article
Marine microplastic pollution is a major environmental challenge that threatens marine ecosystems and human health. Several models have been used to calculate and predict the theoretical amount of plastic waste discharged into the sea by coastal countries. Unlike earlier theoretical models of source discharge, we used the method of data normalization to focus on the actual distribution of microplastics and their potential ecological risk in offshore surface waters. Our findings indicate that the average normalised abundance of microplastics in near-shore region of Bohai Sea was greater than the average normalised abundance of microplastics in the seas near the Yangtze River Delta urban agglomeration and the Pearl River Delta urban agglomeration. Moreover, the average amount of plastic waste discharged from terrestrial sources to the ocean per kilometre exhibited the following order: Bohai Rim urban agglomeration (150.90) (tonnes km-1 ) < the Pearl River Delta urban agglomeration (274.30) (tonnes km-1 ) < Yangtze River Delta urban agglomeration (577.44) (tonnes km-1 ). Further, the average microplastics abundance in offshore areas of different countries and the amount of plastic discharged per kilometre of the coastline were significantly negatively correlated, implying that microplastics were not necessarily abundant in coastal areas where large amounts of plastic are discharged into the sea. Hydrodynamic conditions had the greatest influence on the distribution of microplastics in offshore surface waters. The transport of nutrient salts from terrestrial areas to offshore waters was also influenced by hydrodynamics, with enrichment patterns in offshore areas exhibiting similar to those of microplastics. Therefore, when the offshore microplastic accumulation area overlapped with the nutrient salt enrichment zone, the health risk associated with the consumption of edible fish from offshore communities increased. In view of these findings, coastal countries must implement policies to reduce marine plastic waste emissions and develop management strategies based on their local pollution levels.
... The high susceptibility score of marine environments is clearly supported by the phalarope species that have higher %FO of plastics pollution than all other taxonomic groups. This pattern may be attributable to the water surface in marine environments being an accumulation zone for plastics pollution (Eriksen et al. 2013;Lebreton et al. 2018;Schwarz et al. 2019). Foraging in marine areas may also expose shorebirds to plastics pollution because floating pieces of plastics may be mistaken for prey items. ...
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Concerns about the impact of plastics pollution on the environment have been growing since the 1970s. Marine debris has reportedly entangled and/or been ingested by 914 marine species ranging from microinvertebrates to large marine mammals. Shorebirds could have a high potential to be exposed to and ingest plastics pollution, as many species migrate long distances and periodically concentrate around shorelines, coastal areas, and estuaries that can have elevated levels of plastics pollution. Currently, little is understood about plastics exposure, frequency of occurrence, and potential impacts relating to shorebirds. In this study, we catalogued and reviewed available studies across the globe that examined plastics pollution in shorebirds. We then quantified relevant traits of species and their environments to explore how shorebirds may be exposed to plastics pollution. Of 1106 samples from 26 shorebird species described within 16 studies that examined plastics ingestion, 53% of individuals contained some form of plastics pollution. Overall, Haematopodidae (oystercatchers) had the highest frequency of occurrence (FO) of plastics, followed by Recurvirostridae (avocets), Scolopacidae (sandpipers, phalaropes, godwits, curlews), and Charadriidae (plovers). Plastics FO was much greater among species that migrated across marine areas (either oceanic or coastal) than those species that used continental flyways. Species that foraged at sea, on mudflats, or on beaches, had higher average FO of plastics ingestion than species than foraged in upland, or freshwater environments. Finally, species that used a sweeping foraging mode showed higher levels of ingested plastics and contained a far greater number of plastic pieces than all other techniques. These conclusions are based on a limited number of species and samples, with the distribution of samples skewed taxonomically and geographically. Using the combined knowledge of known shorebirds-plastics interactions and shorebird ecology, we present a hierarchical approach to identifying shorebirds that may be more vulnerable and susceptible to plastics ingestion. We provide recommendations on sampling protocols and future areas of research.
... Marine litter pollution is most obviously seen on beaches, where litter accumulates due to currents, wave and wind action, river outflows, and direct littering, and is also present in the open ocean, on islands, and in the deep sea (Bouwmeester et al. 2015;GESAMP 2016). It was demonstrated that buoyant marine litter predominantly accumulate in subtropical gyres (Cózar et al. 2014;Eriksen et al. 2013;Van Sebille 2015). This explains why the highest recorded density of litter in the world, 671.6 items/m 2 , was recorded on one of the world's remotest islands in the South Pacific, the uninhabited Henderson Island (Lavers and Bond 2017). ...
... Then, more modern techniques, such as Fourier transformed infrared spectrometry (FTIR) (and/or micro FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy have usually been applied for the qualification of these particles. Moreover, accurate microscopic techniques, including scanning electron microscope (SEM) (for surface morphology), scanning electron microscopyenergy dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), and environmental scanning microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (ESEM-EDS) (for surface morphology and determination of elemental composition) have been used for the quantification of microplastics (Eriksen et al., 2013;Fuller & Gautam, 2016;Mendoza & Jones, 2015; Table 2). In addition, analytical techniques, such as pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Pyr-GC-MS), can be used for identifying microplastic polymers and organic plastic additives (Dekiff et al., 2014). ...
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The aim of this study is to assess the importance of environmental pollution caused by microplastics and their high risks for the organisms living in water and soil ecosystems. Microplastics are one of the emerging contaminants which have been widely spread in soil and aquatic environments. In the last few years, many studies have been focused on their distribution and assessment of their adverse risk to the organisms living in both ecosystems. New methods for the identification of these small particles are also distinguished; however, these techniques are not adequate and sufficient for detection, toxicity, and impacts of their effects on biota. The evidence of large burden of microplastics in aquatic ecosystems has substantially increased. But we are at the beginning of understanding of the potential risk of these materials in soil, where it is still entirely unclear what the size of this problem is. Up to now, little information is present about the effects of these particles on soil organisms. Better understanding to the occurrence, spread, and negative influence of these particles in the ecosystems is needed.
... and fragments (1:0.55:0.505). For fibers, we used the interquartile range diameter of fibers extracted from seawater, reported in Suaria et al. (2020), to determine the radius of small and large MPs (0.0075 mm in both cases) or macroplastics (0.0102 mm).Based on the average surface area (calculated from the median dimensions) and the proportion of each plastic shape in each size category (fromEriksen et al., 2013), we calculated the plastic surface area in the global ocean according to the amounts of plastic items estimated for each grid cell at a 1° spatial resolution. Polygons from the Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs; https://www.lmehub.net/) ...
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Marine plastic debris provides a significant surface area for potential colonization by planktonic and benthic harmful microalgae and for the adsorption of their toxins. Furthermore, floating plastics may substantially expand the substrate area available for benthic algae in the ocean, intensifying the transfer of potent toxins through pelagic food webs. In this study, we quantify the available surface area of micro- and macroplastics in different oceanic regions and assess the potential role of floating plastics as vectors for the transfer of toxins from three widespread benthic dinoflagellates, Gambierdiscus spp., Ostreopsis cf. ovata and Prorocentrum lima. To avoid bias associated to the occurrence of benthic algae in deep waters, we selected only records from 0 to 100 m depths. We estimate that 26.8 × 10¹⁰ cm² of plastic surface area is potentially available in surface waters of the global ocean, mostly in the size range of large microplastics (1.01–4.75 mm). Based on the distribution of floating plastics and the habitat suitability of the selected microalgal species, the plastic relative colonization risks will be greater in the Mediterranean Sea and in the subtropical and temperate western margins of the oceans, such as the North American and Asian eastern coasts and, to a lesser extent, southern Brazil and Australia. In places where the colonization of O. cf. ovata cells on floating plastic debris has been properly quantified, such as the Mediterranean and southern Brazil, we estimate a colonization potential of up to 2 × 10⁶ cells km⁻² of ocean surface during the regular occurrence period and up to 1.7 × 10⁸ cells km⁻² during massive blooms of this species. As plastic pollution and harmful benthic algal blooms have both increased substantially over the past decades, we suggest that their interactive effects can become a major and novel threat to marine ecosystems and human health.
... Since nanoplastics are difficult detected in the environment and can be originated by the degradation of plastics/microplastics, their concentration in the environment may be directly correlated with the concentration of plastics/microplastics (Rocha-Santos et al., 2019;Yu et al., 2020). Thus, the nanoplastic concentrations in the present study were chosen based on previous studies that detected the presence of microplastics in the environment (Dubaish and Liebezeit, 2013;Eriksen et al., 2013;Sendra et al., 2019).The solution volume in the chronic experiment was 3 L. Each group included three parallel groups of 40 juvenile shrimp with weights of (0.14 ± 0.06) g and body lengths of (22.96 ± 3.87) mm. ...
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Nanoplastics are widely distributed in aquatic environments, and nanoplastic pollution has become a global concern. However, few studies have evaluated the toxicity of nanoplastics to freshwater crustaceans. In this study, by adding different concentrations of nanoplastics to water, we explored the effects of nanoplastics on the survival, antioxidant activity, immune enzyme activity, and related gene expression levels in juvenile Macrobrachium nipponense. The results showed that the 96-h half-lethal concentration of nanoplastics to juvenile shrimp was 396.391 mg/L. As the concentration of nanoplastics increased, the activities of antioxidant enzymes generally decreased, while the contents of hydrogen peroxide and lipid peroxidation products increased. The activities of non-specific immune enzymes first increased and then decreased with increasing nanoplastic concentration. The trends in the expressions of antioxidant-related genes were generally consistent with those in the activities of antioxidant enzymes. As the nanoplastic concentration increased, the expressions of immune-related genes generally increased at first and then decreased. These results indicate that low concentrations of nano-plastics (5 mg/L) may enhance the viability of juvenile shrimp, whereas high concentrations (10,20, 40 mg/L) have inhibitory and/or toxic effects. The findings provide basic information on the toxic effects of nanoplastics in juvenile shrimp.
... Thus far, research on benthic litter in the Southern Hemisphere has been overlooked (Figueroa-Pico et al., 2016;Thiel et al., 2011). Particularly, in the southeast (SE) Pacific Ocean, previous studies have focused on micro-litter and macro-litter composition and distribution in the sea surface and beaches of continents and islands (Eriksen et al., 2013;Hidalgo-Ruz and Thiel, 2013;Hinojosa et al., 2011;Purca and Henostroza, 2017;Thiel et al., 2003). The first evaluation of marine debris on the seafloor in the SE Pacific Ocean was that of Figueroa-Pico et al. (2016), who studied seafloor marine debris along the coast of Ecuador by visual diving sampling. ...
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Marine litter on the seafloor has been increasing for several decades. Moreover, shipping routes and fishing ports are considered as affected areas with benthic macro-litter distribution. In Peru, the available information about benthic litter is limited and only originates from cleaning campaigns. Therefore, this study aimed to conduct the first scientific report about benthic macro-litter occurrence and composition distributed in a shipping route of Ancon Bay. For this purpose, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was used to evaluate the marine litter composition and distribution at depths between 1 and 25 m. A total of 8.8 h of video transects were recorded, and 46 litter items were identified, where plastic represented 80.4%; and industry food and single-use bags were the most frequent items. Plastic fragments and food industry bags dominated areas closer to San Francisco Grande mud sandy beach and the anchorage zone, respectively, while non-plastic items were more common in front of rocky shores. The present work emphasizes the importance of the studies about benthic marine debris for better decision-making regarding litter management. It also highlighted the usefulness of low-cost ROVs in identifying different litter items in shallow areas.
... In relation to months, in French waters the spring-summer period months of August (1,928,036 items/km 2 ) and September (2,432,697 items/km 2 ) tended to present higher abundances and July the least (297,455 items/km 2 ), whereas in Spanish waters November (327,017 items/km 2 ) presented abundances in the order of May in French waters (429,558 items/km 2 ). Several aspects are (Eriksen et al., 2013) proposed to explain this difference. (1) The fact of having different seasons sampled in the analysis (France: Spring-Summer; Spain: autumn), may have affected the results. ...
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Numerical models point to the south-east Bay of Biscay as a convergence area for floating particles, including plastics. The few existing studies on plastic abundance in the area mainly focus on open waters and yet information on the coastal area is limited. To fill this gap, neustonic samples were taken along the coastal waters of the south-east Bay of Biscay (2017–2020) to define the spatial distribution of plastic abundances and composition. Results show an average plastic abundance of 739,395 ± 2,625,271 items/km² (998 ± 4338 g/km²). French waters were more affected, with five times higher plastic abundances than Spanish coasts. Microplastics represented 93 % of the total abundance of plastic items (28 % in weight), mesoplastics 7 % (26 %) and macroplastics 1 % (46 %). This study demonstrates that this area is a hotspot for plastic with levels in coastal waters similar to those in the Mediterranean Sea or other litter aggregation areas.
... The percentage elemental composition analysis of the degraded films in this study gave clear evidence of oxidation and utilization of the LDPE films by the isolates. Several studies have used EDX analysis to comprehend the elemental composition of plastic polymers following degradation (Mahalakshmi, Siddiq, and Andrew 2012;Eriksen et al. 2013;Skariyachan et al. 2017) and they obtained results similar with the observations in this study with the reduction of carbon due to utilization by the bacterial isolates screened as well as increase in oxygen levels. Satheeshkumar and Manivannan (2018) observed that microbial degradation of plastics led to introduction of oxygen into the polymer matrix resulting in the formation of oxygen containing compounds which were made available for utilization by the bacteria hence the increase in the elemental oxygen. ...
Chapter
The quantity of plastic debris entering the ocean per annum is growing at an alarming rate . Synthetic plastic waste, both macro and microplastics enter the marine environment from fishing, coastal tourism, sea-food and other marine industries, and other plastic products. Plastic pollution has a drastic effect on all aquatic life. The conventional plastics which turn up in seas and oceans are recalcitrant to biodegradation and end up being around for decades and centuries. Marine biota is attracted to plastic due to its colour, odour and through the algae that develop films on floating plastics which is a significant source of food for marine animals. The most obvious and disturbing impact of pollution of the marine ecosystem with macro - plastics is the ingestion, suffocation and subsequent death of hundreds of marine species. Bioremediation is a useful strategy for the control of plastic pollution in water bodies. The microbes which live in the vicinity of plastic waste adapts and grows on the surface of plastic as biofilms. They produce catalytic enzymes which can degrade the plastic. However, the extent of biodegradation of the plastic will depend upon its structure and chemical properties. This chapter deals with the biodegradation of macro-plastic waste utilizing various microbes, and the challenges associated with the approach.
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Worldwide, plastic pollution is a prioritized, pressing and environmental concern. Due to the multisectoral application of plastic, globally plastic production is 359 metric tons (MT) in 2018. Out of these 12% plastic are incinerated, only 9% are recycled and the rest are discarded or landfilled, with illegal and mismatched practices. Biodegradation, hydrolysis, mechanical abrasion, photodegradation or UV radiations affected on larger plastic debris converted into microplastic (1 μm to 5 mm) and nanoplastic (1–1000 nm). These are considered as major contaminants of emerging concern, and since a decade an exceptional research has been done to identify it and for its strategic solution. Different macrophytes can adsorb or chanellized plastic particles which is the function of particle size, charge as well as plant surfaces. In the food web, these macrophytes are at the lowest point but very important item of the diet of different organism which uptakes the micro-, meso- and nanoplastic through adsorption and the contaminated macrophytes consequences thereof for food security and stress conditions. Present chapter discussed the current knowledge of plastic and its different forms of contaminant such as macro-, micro- and nanoplastic and its ecotoxicological impact on marine macrophytes.
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Asia is the largest global plastic consumer, with about 35% of the world’s plastic consumption. Considering that Malaysia is a part of Asia, it is evident that plastic use is extensive. Unfortunately, discarding plastic causes several environmental hazards and affects human wellbeing. The environmental authorities and the government have been organising campaigns that focus on propagating the reduce, recycling, and reuse concept among the Malaysian public. Nevertheless, after considering the extensive presence of microorganisms in the environment and their affinity towards degrading plastic, the use of such microorganisms and enzymes appears an efficacious approach. Environmental degradation of plastic typically happens through five processes: photodegradation, thermo-oxidative breakdown, hydrolytic degradation, mechanical degradation, and microbial degradation. Microbial degradation comprises plastic breakdown by microorganisms, which produce enzymes that can split long-chain polymers. Microbial enzymes are interesting since they are cost-effective and require minimal maintenance; at the same time, they are easy to manipulate. Rhizopus delemar, R. arrhizus, Pseudomonas sp., Penicillium funiculosum, and Aspergillus flavus are the five microbes that have been cited extensively regarding their ability to break down specific plastics. Moreover, fungal, bacterial, cyanobacteria, and actinomycetes capabilities for plastic degradation are among the environmentally friendly techniques that can help the environment. This chapter discussed how cyanobacteria could be used to break down plastics. The projected research outcome is the identification of potent microbial agents that can rapidly degrade plastics with minimal environmental impact. Keywords Biodegradation mechanism Cyanobacteria Plastics Phycoremediation
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To maintain environmental sustainability can be managed and resolved by changing human behavior, especially by reducing plastic waste. This study investigated whether natural environmental orientation, environmental knowledge, environmental concern, and environmental attitude affect the extent to which millennials avoid or reduce the purchase of single-use plastic tableware, food with plastic packaging, and plastic water bottles called Willingness to Reduce Plastic Waste (WRPW). This study used quantitative using the purposive sampling method. Data collection techniques using online questionnaires were sent to respondents with criteria for educated millennial Muslims at Islamic universities in East Java, Central Java, and West Java. The survey was conducted for three months and obtained 369 respondents. The questionnaire is processed by using SEM analysis with Smart PLS. The results show that environmental knowledge provides a direct and an indirect effect on willingness to reduce plastic waste through environmental attitude. Meanwhile, environmental concern has no direct effect on willingness to reduce plastic waste, yet it has an indirect effect through environmental attitude. This research implies that concern for the environment is not necessarily accompanied by the willingness to reduce the use of plastic. However, adequate knowledge about the environment can increase the willingness to reduce the use of plastic among millennial generations who prioritize logical thinking and adapt to their knowledge.
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Accumulation of microplastics is dependent on many factors including the supply of amount released and concentration loads, topography, and flow conditions. While the gravitational forces act to deposit the particles at their nearest point of source/delivery, the density dependent buoyancy controls the transport-accumulation characteristic of the plastics in aquatic media. Microplastics accumulate within freshwater bodies from surface runoff, discharges from municipal and industrial effluents, and atmospheric fallout. Beaching acts as a major sink for plastics delivered into the sea. Of the total plastics that enter into the marine environment, only 1% is found to be floating, and the fate of the remaining 99% can be in the water column or in the bottom sediment and/or ingested and likely to undergo bioaccumulation by the organisms. Marine sediments cover about 70% of the Earth’s surface and are the most important sinks for microplastics. In seawater, most of the plastic is buoyant, but the biofouling processes contribute to sinking plastic particles below the surface in concert with the gradual progression of the sinking particles toward the bottom which is controlled by ocean dynamics and turbulence, leading to accumulation in the ocean basin.KeywordsSettling velocityAccommodation spaceFlow conditionDensity separationMedium of depositionGyreCirculationCoastal currentBiofoulingMicrobial communityMeadowAggregationHydraulic propertyAtmospheric falloutBeaching
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Microplastics (MPs) can adsorb persistent organic pollutants such as oil hydrocarbons and may facilitate their transfer to organisms (Trojan horse effect). The aim of this study was to examine the effects of a 21 day dietary exposure to polystyrene MPs of 4.5 μm at 1000 particles/mL, alone and with sorbed oil compounds from the water accommodated fraction (WAF) of a naphthenic North Sea crude oil at two dilutions (25 % and 100 %), on marine mussels. An additional group of mussels was exposed to 25 % WAF for comparison. PAHs were accumulated in mussels exposed to WAF but not in those exposed to MPs with sorbed oil compounds from WAF (MPs-WAF), partly due to the low concentration of PAHs in the studied crude oil. Exposure to MPs or to WAF alone altered the activity of enzymes involved in aerobic (isocitrate dehydrogenase) and biotransformation metabolism (glutathione S-transferase). Prevalence of oocyte atresia and volume density of basophilic cells were higher and absorption efficiency lower in mussels exposed to MPs and to WAF than in controls. After 21 days MPs caused DNA damage (Comet assay) in mussel hemocytes. In conclusion, a Trojan horse effect was not observed but both MPs and oil WAF caused an array of deleterious effects on marine mussels at different levels of biological organization.
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In this study, microplastics were sampled and analyzed from surface water and sediment samples from July to August in 2020, in the Beibu Gulf (the northern South China Sea [SCS]), a gulf with intensive fishery activities while the economy is less developed, compared with other coastal areas of China. The abundances of microplastics in seawater and sediment in the Beibu Gulf were 0.67 items/m3 and 4.33 items/kg of dry weight, respectively. In seawater, the fragments (92.38%) contributed the most, and polystyrene (PS) was the dominant polymer (53.23%). In sediment, the most abundant microplastics were fiber (82.93%) and rayon (RY; 39.54%). The abundances of remarkably higher microplastics were found in the seawater and sediment adjacent to the urban area. The abundances of microplastics in far coastal sediment were only slightly lower than that in the coastal sediment, indicating that microplastics are ready to transport and bury in open area sediment. Significant positive correlations between the microplastic abundance and population density and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) were found in Chinese coastal seawater, with low population density and less developed economy, and the microplastic pollution in the Beibu Gulf was at a low level. This study provides preliminary data of microplastics in the Beibu Gulf, supporting further investigation of transportation fate and management of this emerging pollutant from the coastal zone to the SCS.
Chapter
Plastik in der Umwelt bleibt nicht an einem Ort, sondern wird transportiert, sammelt sich an gewissen Orten an und verändert sich dabei. Viele verschiedene Transportprozesse haben Einfluss auf die Verteilung von Plastik in der Umwelt und werden in diesem Kapitel genauer beschrieben. Sie führen dazu, dass sich Plastik an einigen Orten, wie am Meeresgrund oder in landwirtschaftlichen Böden, vermehrt ansammelt.
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Enzymes sequestered from microbes have demonstrated the ability to readily digest amorphous regions of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) at ambient conditions. Though nascent, enzymatic depolymerization can soon vie for commercialization and provide monomeric feedstock at rates comparable to petrochemical feedstock for repolymerization and achieve the coveted goal of cradle-to-cradle recycling.
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Marine bivalve molluscs are one of the primary seafood for consumers. Inhabiting terrigenous pollutant-convergent coastal areas and feeding through seawater filtration, edible bivalves are subjected to waterborne emerging pollutants such as microplastics (MPs) and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA). Nevertheless, the potential risks of consuming MP-TBBPA contaminated seafood are still largely unknown. With that, accumulation of TBBPA with and without the presence of MPs in a commercial bivalve species, blood clam (Tegillarca granosa), was determined in the present study. Meanwhile, corresponding target hazard quotients (THQs) as well as margins of exposure (MoEs) were estimated to evaluate the potential health risks for clam consumers. Furthermore, the impacts of pollutants accumulation on the detoxification process and energy supply were analysed. The data obtained demonstrated that MPs aggravate the accumulation of TBBPA in clams, leading to elevated potential food safety risks (indicated by higher THQ values and lower MoE values) for consumers. In addition, the in vivo contents of CYP1A1 and UDP-glucuronosyltransferase, the enzymatic activity of glutathione-S-transferase, and the expression levels of five detoxification-related genes were all dramatically suppressed by MP-TBBPA. Furthermore, clams exposed to MP-TBBPA had significantly lower adenosine triphosphate contents and lower pyruvate kinase and phosphofructokinase activities. These results indicated that the aggravation of TBBPA accumulation may be due to the hence disruption of detoxification process and limited energy available for detoxification.
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Microplastics (MPs), which are tiny plastic materials with size below 5 mm, are ubiquitous in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. They are an emerging pollutant posing potential threats to the biosphere. Once they get into the environment, microplastic wastes are difficult to eliminate and hence are continually accumulating in the environment resulting in pollution. Eventually, they end up in the food web, and due to their tiny size, they can easily enter bodies of the biosphere. They also can act as conduits for the proliferation of microbes and fungi. Undoubtedly, the MPs waste needs to be handled safely. Understanding the MPs cycle from the point of generation to disposal can help in the safe use of MPs and handling of MPs waste. This chapter, therefore, discusses the MPs cycle by focusing on the generation of MPs, characterisation of MPs and review of the current challenges associated with MPs waste. The current research trends in the area of MPs pollution will be reviewed together with recommendations on future mitigation measures.
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This review summarizes the current state of knowledge regarding the risk assessment of plastic-associated residual additives, i.e. residual monomers, degradation products and additives, in the marine environment, also considering effects of weathering and bioavailability. Experimental studies have found a number of organic and metal additive compounds in leachates from plastics, and the analysis of weathered plastic particles, such as polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene particles sampled on beaches and shorelines, has identified residual additives, such as flame retardants, plasticizers, UV stabilizers and antioxidants. While the transfer of e.g. PBDEs to organisms upon ingestion has been demonstrated, studies on uptake and bioaccumulation of plastic-associated chemicals are inconclusive. Studies on hazard and risk assessments are few, and focus on monomers and/or a limited number of high concentration additives, such as phthalates and flame retardants. The risk assessment results vary between low, moderate and high risks of specific additives, and are not necessarily consistent for the same compound. Given the large number of chemicals potentially introduced into the marine environment with plastic particles and the challenges associated with the correct quantification of exposure concentrations and toxicity thresholds, the question arises whether new risk assessment concepts may be needed.
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Studies in the oceans and The Great Lakes have found several orders of magnitude less plastic in surface samples than predicted by input estimates. Some plastic likely sinks after entering the water because it is naturally more dense than freshwater. For less dense particles, it has been proposed that biofouling, or the buildup of organic materials on the plastic, can cause them to become more dense and ultimately induce sinking. In this work we compare two different functional biofouling models: one basic algal growth population model and one model that assumes photosensitive defouling. We investigate the effects within the scope of a large-scale hydrodynamic model that includes advection, vertical diffusion, and sediment deposition applied to both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. We find that deposition rates are dependent on the fouling method and lake depth. Lastly, we use the model to develop a first pass mass estimate for the sediment deposition rate in Lake Ontario.
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Over recent years, awareness of the ecological consequences of marine plastic debris has increased considerably. This chapter focuses on the ingestion of plastics. It defines harm within the ecotoxicological context of impacts on organisms and ecosystems. Owing to the small size of microplastics and their near ubiquitous presence throughout the marine environment, concern for marine life arises from their ingestion. The result of the microplastic exposure can lead to effects at different levels of biological functioning, including those on the individual, at site‐specific target organs, on certain cell types, and even subcellular effects. To date, few studies have quantified the effects of microplastic pollution on ecosystem functioning. During production, chemicals are added to plastics to alter or improve their desired properties, such as plasticizers, flame‐retardants, antimicrobial agents, or UV inhibitors. These additive chemicals can subsequently leach from the plastic into the environment or, if ingested, into organisms.
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Coastal bays are important containers for plastic wastes before they enter the ocean. Based on field samples, this study presents the main characteristics of microplastics and uses a numerical model to study the distribution and movement of microplastics as they are driven by tidal flows in an extended semi-closed bay in Xiangshan Bay, China. The laboratory analyses of microplastic samples from 27 pollutant source samples collected in three batches provided fundamental data on microplastics. Our results show that the local microplastics are prevalent (mean abundance: 890.6 ± 419.4 particles/m³) in the water. A higher quantity of fibre- and fragment-type microplastics was identified and compared to other plastic types. The detected microplastics varied in colour and composition. The simulation suggests that the bay can trap microplastics inside it, with only 16.92 % discharged into the open ocean. A series of single-source numerical tests at nine typical observation sites were conducted to examine tide-driven microplastic transport. Our results suggest that the release location is crucial to microplastic distribution. Specifically, the microplastics tended to accumulate near the bay mouth and the Tie inlet; the microplastics released from the north shore generally evacuated the bay more easily; and the inner harbour tended to accumulate microplastics during spring tide, as opposed to the departure of microplastics at the outer bay, while the effect was reversed during neap tide. We further considered the deposit effect, which significantly reduces the discharging rate to 0.04 % with a settling velocity of 0.05 mm/s. These results may have great importance to decision-making, management, and control of microplastic pollution.
Article
The Caribbean Sea is reported to have one of the highest levels of plastic pollution of any marine ecosystem. Much less is known about the levels of microplastics as an emerging pollutant in the marine environment, especially in the water column and benthic substrates where they can be easily ingested by marine organisms. This study was carried out to quantify marine microplastics in the Wider Caribbean using the mollusk, queen conch (Aliger gigas). We analyzed feces collected from queen conch, a non-lethal method of sampling, to investigate microplastic pollution in eleven sites across the Wider Caribbean. Microplastics were extracted by degradation of organic matter from feces with peroxide (30%) over 48 h. Microplastics were then analyzed by stereomicroscope and scanning electron microscope. Microplastics were found to be present in the feces of all 175 queen conch sampled, and in statistically different abundances among sites, but with no obvious geographical pattern. The highest and lowest levels were found in Central America; the highest being in Belize (270 ± 55 microplastics/queen conch) and Alacranes, Mexico (203 ± 29 microplastics/queen conch), whilst the lowest levels were found in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. Fibers, mostly between 1000 and 1500 μm in size, were the most frequent microplastic particle types at every site and represented between 60 and 98% of all microplastic particles found. Our results suggest that the use of queen conch feces is a suitable method for detecting benthic microplastic pollution, and have confirmed that microplastic pollution of marine benthos is widespread across the Wider Caribbean.
Article
The unfortunate event of the 2018 Kerala flood provided a unique opportunity to study the impact of flood events on the microplastic (MP) distribution in the marine environments of Cochin, Southeastern Arabian Sea, India. Monthly sampling of surface waters, bottom sediments, and beach sediments off the Cochin coast was conducted during March 2018 – February 2019 to assess the abundance, composition, and distribution of MPs. Further, variation in MP contamination was analysed during pre-flood (March 2018–August 2018) and post-flood (September 2018–February 2019) periods. Results indicated that the flood caused a significant increase in the abundance of MPs in surface waters and beach sediments, but not in bottom sediments. In comparison with the pre-flood period, the MP concentration increased 3-fold in surface water and 1.5-fold in beach sediments during the post-flood period. MP concentration during the post-flood period was considerably greater than that during peak monsoon months (July–August). An increase in the diversity of MPs was also observed in all three ecosystems post flood. Furthermore, the local oceanographic conditions determined the retention time of MPs in the marine environment. The research findings underscore the importance of extreme weather events, such as floods, in reliably investigating the MP entry, its distribution, and accumulation in various environmental compartments of the marine ecosystem.
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Plastics are organic polymers mainly derived from petrochemicals which can be flexibly molded into different shapes. Due to the many benefits of petroleum plastics, including their low cost, high durability, resistance to oxidation, flexibility, water resistance, and inertness, their demand continuously increases. Accumulation of plastic waste in nature is a serious concern. Small plastic particles which are highly resistant to biodegradation gather within organisms, leading to unknown health impacts. Here we present global efforts in diminishing plastic pollutants by identifying recent interdisciplinary contributions to plastic biodegradation and chemical degradation, suitable recycling strategies, and sustainable alternatives derived from biobased material.
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Background and Objective: Marine pollution is growing due to human activities. Continuous increase in plastic production and poor management of plastic waste resulted in a significant increase of this contaminant in aquatic environments. This in turn led to the widespread presence of Microplastics (MPs) with a size of less than 5mm. Materials and Methods: In this study, frequency, distribution, color and type of MPs in the gastrointestinal tract of fish in Oman Sea were investigated using random sampling, tissue digestion and flotation of MPs. Results: The total number of the MPs found in the studied species was variable. The highest number of MPs were found in the species belonged to Rastrelliger kanagurta and Nemipterus japonicus (29%) and Saurida tumbil, Trichiurus lepturus and Paragaleus randalli (14%). Conclusion: The forms mostly observed were belonged to microfibres (86%), fragment (11%) and pellet (3%). The most frequent colors that were detected were in a decreasing order blue, pink and black. The results demonstrated that the highest concentrations of MPs were observed in Ratrelliger kanagurta and Nemipterus japonicus species. The present study provides useful information for further research, and a background analysis to monitore the pollutants in the Oman Sea.
Article
The present study investigates the abundance, distribution, and characterization (shape, size, colour, chemical composition) of microplastics (MPs) in surface water and sediment from the shelf region of the central east coast of India. The surface water and sediment samples were collected at varying depths (12.8–63 m) from 21 locations covering ∼1200 km. The mean abundance of MPs in surface water and sediments were 5.3 × 10⁴ particles. km⁻², 209 ± 99 particles. kg⁻¹ of dry weight, respectively. Stereomicroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and micro Fourier Transform Infra-red Spectroscopy (FTIR) were employed for the quantification and characterization of the polymers. Polyolefin (polyethylene and polypropylene) were the dominant polymers in both surface water and sediments indicating their source primarily land based. Surface water and sediment MPs were mostly blue coloured. Fibre (77%) and fragment (38%) were the dominant morphotypes in surface water and sediments, respectively. Surface characteristics studies using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) highlight the breakdown progress of the particles; Small MPs (<1 mm) account for >50% of the whole and dominant in the offshore region (10 km). The results reveal that the primary sources of MPs are most likely to be originating from riverine fluxes and fishing-based activities.
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Floating marine plastic debris was found to function as solid-phase extraction media, adsorbing and concentrating pollutants out of the water column. Plastic debris was collected in the North Pacific Gyre, extracted, and analyzed for 36 individual PCB congeners, 17 organochlorine pesticides, and 16 EPA priority PAHs. Over 50% contained PCBs, 40% contained pesticides, and nearly 80% contained PAHs. The PAHs included 2, 3 and 4 ring congeners. The PCBs were primarily CB-11, 28, 44, 52, 66, and 101. The pesticides detected were primarily p,p-DDTs and its metabolite, o,p-DDD, as well as BHC (a,b,g and d). The concentrations of pollutants found ranged from a few ppb to thousands of ppb. The types of PCBs and PAHs found were similar to those found in marine sediments. However, these plastic particles were mostly polyethylene which is resistant to degradation and although functioning similarly to sediments in accumulating pollutants, these had remained on or near the ocean surface. Particles collected included intact plastic items as well as many pieces less than 5 mm in size.
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Plastic marine pollution is a major environmental concern, yet a quantitative description of the scope of this problem in the open ocean is lacking. Here, we present a time series of plastic content at the surface of the western North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea from 1986 to 2008. More than 60% of 6136 surface plankton net tows collected buoyant plastic pieces, typically millimeters in size. The highest concentration of plastic debris was observed in subtropical latitudes and associated with the observed large-scale convergence in surface currents predicted by Ekman dynamics. Despite a rapid increase in plastic production and disposal during this time period, no trend in plastic concentration was observed in the region of highest accumulation.
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Anthropogenic marine debris (AMD) is an ubiquitous problem, which has motivated public participation in activities such as beach surveys and clean-up campaigns. While it is known that beaches in the SE Pacific are also affected by this problem, the quantities and types of AMD remain largely unknown. In the context of an outreach project, volunteers (approximately 1500 high-school students) participated in a nation-wide survey of AMD on 43 beaches distributed randomly along the entire Chilean coast (18 degrees S to 53 degrees S). The mean density of AMD was 1.8 items m(-2) and the major types were plastics, cigarette butts and glass. Densities in central Chile were lower than in northern and southern Chile, which could be due to different attitudes of beach users or to intense beach cleaning in central regions. We suggest that public participation in surveys and cleaning activities will raise awareness and thereby contribute to an improvement of the situation.
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Plastics debris in the marine environment, including resin pellets, fragments and microscopic plastic fragments, contain organic contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum hydrocarbons, organochlorine pesticides (2,2'-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-1,1,1-trichloroethane, hexachlorinated hexanes), polybrominated diphenylethers, alkylphenols and bisphenol A, at concentrations from sub ng g(-1) to microg g(-1). Some of these compounds are added during plastics manufacture, while others adsorb from the surrounding seawater. Concentrations of hydrophobic contaminants adsorbed on plastics showed distinct spatial variations reflecting global pollution patterns. Model calculations and experimental observations consistently show that polyethylene accumulates more organic contaminants than other plastics such as polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride. Both a mathematical model using equilibrium partitioning and experimental data have demonstrated the transfer of contaminants from plastic to organisms. A feeding experiment indicated that PCBs could transfer from contaminated plastics to streaked shearwater chicks. Plasticizers, other plastics additives and constitutional monomers also present potential threats in terrestrial environments because they can leach from waste disposal sites into groundwater and/or surface waters. Leaching and degradation of plasticizers and polymers are complex phenomena dependent on environmental conditions in the landfill and the chemical properties of each additive. Bisphenol A concentrations in leachates from municipal waste disposal sites in tropical Asia ranged from sub microg l(-1) to mg l(-1) and were correlated with the level of economic development.
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Plastic debris has significant environmental and economic impacts in marine systems. Monitoring is crucial to assess the efficacy of measures implemented to reduce the abundance of plastic debris, but it is complicated by large spatial and temporal heterogeneity in the amounts of plastic debris and by our limited understanding of the pathways followed by plastic debris and its long-term fate. To date, most monitoring has focused on beach surveys of stranded plastics and other litter. Infrequent surveys of the standing stock of litter on beaches provide crude estimates of debris types and abundance, but are biased by differential removal of litter items by beachcombing, cleanups and beach dynamics. Monitoring the accumulation of stranded debris provides an index of debris trends in adjacent waters, but is costly to undertake. At-sea sampling requires large sample sizes for statistical power to detect changes in abundance, given the high spatial and temporal heterogeneity. Another approach is to monitor the impacts of plastics. Seabirds and other marine organisms that accumulate plastics in their stomachs offer a cost-effective way to monitor the abundance and composition of small plastic litter. Changes in entanglement rates are harder to interpret, as they are sensitive to changes in population sizes of affected species. Monitoring waste disposal on ships and plastic debris levels in rivers and storm-water runoff is useful because it identifies the main sources of plastic debris entering the sea and can direct mitigation efforts. Different monitoring approaches are required to answer different questions, but attempts should be made to standardize approaches internationally.
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One of the most ubiquitous and long-lasting recent changes to the surface of our planet is the accumulation and fragmentation of plastics. Within just a few decades since mass production of plastic products commenced in the 1950s, plastic debris has accumulated in terrestrial environments, in the open ocean, on shorelines of even the most remote islands and in the deep sea. Annual clean-up operations, costing millions of pounds sterling, are now organized in many countries and on every continent. Here we document global plastics production and the accumulation of plastic waste. While plastics typically constitute approximately 10 per cent of discarded waste, they represent a much greater proportion of the debris accumulating on shorelines. Mega- and macro-plastics have accumulated in the highest densities in the Northern Hemisphere, adjacent to urban centres, in enclosed seas and at water convergences (fronts). We report lower densities on remote island shores, on the continental shelf seabed and the lowest densities (but still a documented presence) in the deep sea and Southern Ocean. The longevity of plastic is estimated to be hundreds to thousands of years, but is likely to be far longer in deep sea and non-surface polar environments. Plastic debris poses considerable threat by choking and starving wildlife, distributing non-native and potentially harmful organisms, absorbing toxic chemicals and degrading to micro-plastics that may subsequently be ingested. Well-established annual surveys on coasts and at sea have shown that trends in mega- and macro-plastic accumulation rates are no longer uniformly increasing: rather stable, increasing and decreasing trends have all been reported. The average size of plastic particles in the environment seems to be decreasing, and the abundance and global distribution of micro-plastic fragments have increased over the last few decades. However, the environmental consequences of such microscopic debris are still poorly understood.
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The potential for ingestion of plastic particles by open ocean filter feeders was assessed by measuring the relative abundance and mass of neustonic plastic and zooplankton in surface waters under the central atmospheric high-pressure cells of the North Pacific Ocean. Neuston samples were collected at 11 random sites, using a manta trawl lined with 333 u mesh. The abundance and mass of neustonic plastic was the largest recorded anywhere in the Pacific Ocean at 334271 pieces km2 and 5114 g km2, respectively. Plankton abundance was approximately five times higher than that of plastic, but the mass of plastic was approximately six times that of plankton. The most frequently sampled types of identifiable plastic were thin films, polypropylene/monofilament line and unidentified plastic, most of which were miscellaneous fragments. Cumulatively, these three types accounted for 99% of the total number of plastic pieces.
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The deleterious effects of plastic debris on the marine environment were reviewed by bringing together most of the literature published so far on the topic. A large number of marine species is known to be harmed and/or killed by plastic debris, which could jeopardize their survival, especially since many are already endangered by other forms of anthropogenic activities. Marine animals are mostly affected through entanglement in and ingestion of plastic litter. Other less known threats include the use of plastic debris by "invader" species and the absorption of polychlorinated biphenyls from ingested plastics. Less conspicuous forms, such as plastic pellets and "scrubbers" are also hazardous. To address the problem of plastic debris in the oceans is a difficult task, and a variety of approaches are urgently required. Some of the ways to mitigate the problem are discussed.
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Millions of metric tons of plastic are produced annually. Countless large items of plastic debris are accumulating in marine habitats worldwide and may persist for centuries ([ 1 ][1]–[ 4 ][2]). Here we show that microscopic plastic fragments and fibers ([Fig. 1A][3]) are also widespread in the
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For centuries humans have indiscriminantly discarded their waste into, and on the mar-gins of, oceans, lakes, and rivers. Seafarers traditionally disposed their garbage by simply heaving it overboard, and the practice continues to this day despite international agreements such as the London Dumping Convention (LDC) and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). When quantities of mostly (bio) degradable waste were low, environmental and other consequences remained minimal. However, the advent of nondegradable synthetic materials has had profound biological and environmental effects (Laist 1987; Laist, Chapter 8, this volume) on shores and in oceanic and coastal surface waters (Pruter 1987a).
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Marine debris directly threatens and indirectly impacts upon marine wildlife and humans throughout the world. Proper management requires information on debris abundance, distribution and sources for specific regions. This data was previously unavailable for the Greater Sydney Region, Australia. Thus, a marine debris survey was conducted on six selected beaches from the Greater Sydney Region. Two beaches from each of three areas with differing degrees of urbanisation were sampled once a month for five months. Sampling was conducted from within a series of transects, zones and strata to obtain information on the abundance, distribution, composition and sources of debris. On average sampled beaches had 33.3 items per 250m2 transect equating to 2,664 items per kilometre of beach with a 20m wide cross-shore sub-aerial zone. The vast majority (89.8%) of debris found was plastic, particularly hard plastic (52.3%) predominantly originating from stormwater or beachgoers. The beaches with the highest debris density were those within the least urbanised area, possibly due to the relatively small distance (<50km) between sample areas and the ability of debris to disperse quickly from its source and travel long distances. Significant differences in debris abundance were found between sample areas, beaches, beach strata and over time. The abundance of marine debris within the Greater Sydney Region was comparable to some of the most polluted beaches around the world, and is thus a problem that requires immediate attention.
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Studies from South Pacific Islands, some of which are uninhabited, as well as eastern Australia and New Zealand, show that discarded plastics are a significant pollutant of shorelines and adjacent coastal and oceanic waters. Environmental impacts include: death and/or debilitation of wildlife through entanglement and ingestion, reductions in quality of life and reproductive performance, hazards to shipping and possibly health, and a vector for the introduction of alien taxa that may endanger island ecosystems or traditional seafood resources. This material is also aesthetically distasteful.Blame for this pollution has been placed largely on indiscriminate disposal of plastic by vessels at sea. However, there is a growing appreciation that much shoreline litter has urban sources reflecting inadequate disposal practices as well as recreational visitors. Increasing population pressures and shipping activities around the region will lead to ever-growing quantities of unsightly plastic litter on shorelines of the region and experience elsewhere suggests this could be to the detriment of tourism.The problems need to be addressed through the Convention for the Protection of the Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region with common regional management policies developed similar to those now in place for the Caribbean. These should focus on waste disposal practices and identification of sites suitable for land-fill operations as well as development of port reception facilities. Alleviation of the problems may also come from Annex V of MARPOL and the London Dumping Convention, but ultimately the solutions will have to be regional in character and involve education sensitive to local cultures.
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In just 4 decades, marine litter has become abundant in northern oceans and seas and is increasing on even remote Southern Ocean island shores. The Southern Ocean was thought to be protected from rafting organisms by its freezing sea surface temperatures. Here we report on an assemblage of animals attached to a piece of plastic that was washed ashore on Adelaide Island, Antarctic Peninsula (68° S). The band of plastic was positively buoyant. At least 10 species belonging to 5 phyla were present on the plastic and the size of some indicated that it had been afloat for more than a year. Clearly it is possible for a range of animals to survive and grow in such an environment, and so exotic species could enter or leave the Southern Ocean.
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Polyethylene and polypropylene pellets, together with tarballs, were found to be the most common contaminates of the sea surface in the Cape Basin area of the South Atlantic Ocean. This is an area far removed from any obvious source of such materials.
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Throughout the world's oceans a wide variety of floating plastics are found, among which buoys stand but for their high floatability and diversity and abundance of associated organisms. Between 2001 and 2005, we conducted 25 ship surveys in the Bay System of Coquimbo (BSC), during which we registered 34 detached buoys floating between 1 and 45 km from the coast. The objective of this study was to infer the possible origin of these buoys, identify the associated biota and characterize their biological traits. Short-term drift experiments (30 min) showed that buoys without rope responded primarily to the velocity and direction of the wind, while buoys with ropes (3 m length) followed surface currents. Using the wind velocity and direction during the 12 h before capture of the detached buoys, we estimated the hypothetical trajectories of these buoys during that time period. Results indicated that most buoys originated from aquaculture facilities in the BSC. A total of 134 different species from 14 phyla was found on 18 anchored (91 species) and 22 detached (116 species) buoys sampled. Community composition was similar among buoys - 54 % of all species were common for anchored and detached buoys-but a higher number of rare species occurred on detached buoys. Buoys do not seem to lose but rather gain organisms after detachment. The most common functional groups on these buoys were mobile species, suspension-feeders and species with sexual reproduction, separate sexes, internal fertilization and direct or very short larval development. Fouling communities on detached buoys were mostly in advanced successional stages, comprising diverse species (including several non-indigenous species) adapted to the conditions at the sea surface. These results suggest that floating buoys may transport associated species over extensive distances, thereby also contributing to the spread of non-indigenous species.
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The outdoor weathering of polyethylene homopolymer under exposure in air and in sea water was studied. Rate of deterioration as indicated by the loss in mean ultimate extension was found to be slower when the material was weathered in sea water compared to that in air. The difference in rates is explained in terms of the lack of heat buildup in plastic material floating in sea water. A similar study on a commercially available ethylene–carbon monooxide copolymer indicated rapid photodegradation under both exposure conditions.
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a b s t r a c t Floating objects are suggested to be the principal vector for the transport and dispersal of marine invertebrates with direct development as well as catalysts for carbon and nutrient recycling in accumulation areas. The first step in identifying the ecological relevance of floating objects in a specific area is to identify their spatio-temporal distribution. We evaluated the composition, abundance, distribution, and temporal variability of floating objects along the continental coast of central–southern Chile (33–421S) and the Patagonian fjords (42–501S) using ship surveys conducted in austral winter (July/August) and spring (November) of the years 2002–2005 and 2008. Potential sources of floating items were identified with the aid of publicly available databases and scientific reports. We found three main types of floating objects, namely floating marine debris (mainly plastic objects and Styrofoam), wood (trunks and branches), and floating kelps (Macrocystis pyrifera and Durvillaea antarctica). Floating marine debris were abundant along most of the examined transects, with markedly lower abundances toward the southern fjord areas. Floating marine debris abundances generally corresponded to the distribution of human activities, and were highest in the Interior Sea of Chiloé , where aquaculture activities are intense. Floating wood appeared sporadically in the study area, often close to the main rivers. In accordance with seasonal river run-off, wood was more abundant along the continental coast in winter (rainy season) and in the Patagonian fjords during the spring surveys (snow melt). Densities of the two floating kelp species were similar along the continental coast, without a clear seasonal pattern. M. pyrifera densities increased towards the south, peaking in the Patagonian fjords, where it was dominant over D. antarctica. Densities of M. pyrifera in the Patagonian fjords were highest in spring. Correlation analyses between the abundances of floating objects and the distance to the nearest sources were generally non-significant, suggesting that post-supply processes affect the distribution of the floating objects in the study region. The identification of several major retention zones supports this idea. Accumulation areas of floating objects appear to be more common in the fjord zones. In general, the results underscore the abundance of floating objects throughout the study region and the fact that floating marine debris sources are mostly local, whereas floating algae may be dispersed over greater distances. Future studies should focus on the ecological role of floating objects in biota dispersal and nutrient cycling.
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IntroductionPlastic Litter and other Marine DebrisBiological and Environmental ImpactsDegradation of Plastics at SeaPhotodegradable Plastics as a Mitigation StrategyConclusions
Article
Pollution of the oceans by garbage is a serious problem. Worldwide, as many as 8 million items of garbage may enter the seas on a daily basis. These items may survive some time, drifting in the oceans and give rise to other environmental problems such as causing hazards to wildlife (through ingestion and entanglement) before being washed ashore. Surveys of beaches on Ducie and Oeno Atolls in the Pitcairn Islands were compared with a similar survey on a beach in S.W. Ireland. The three beaches were similar in the density and major categories of garbage to be found, but differed in subtle ways. For example the Pacific beaches had a greater proportion of bottles and buoys, whereas the Irish beach had a greater proportion of sweet wrappers and polythene bags. Although these remote islands may be thousands of miles from industrial centres their beaches are apparently as dirty as those in Europe.
Article
Organisms have travelled the Atlantic Ocean as neuston and have rafted on natural marine debris for millions of years. Shipping increased opportunities for marine organism travel mere thousands of years ago but in just decades floating plastic debris is transforming marine rafting. Here we present a combined open-ocean and remote coasts marine debris survey of the Atlantic (from 68S–78N). Daily shipboard observations were made from the Southern Ocean to the high Arctic and the shores of 16 remote islands were surveyed. We report (1) anthropogenic debris from the most northerly and southerly latitudes to date, (2) the first record of marine biota colonising debris at latitudes >68, and (3) the finding of exotic species (the barnacle Elminius modestus) on northern plastic debris. Plastic pieces dominated both open-ocean and stranding marine debris. The highest densities of oceanic debris were found around northwest Europe, whereas the highest stranding levels were equatorial. Our findings of high east-Arctic debris colonisation by fauna contrast with low values from west Arctic (though only two samples) and south Atlantic shores. Colonisation rates of debris differed between hemispheres, previously considered to be similar. Our two South Atlantic mega-debris shipboard surveys (10years apart) found no changes in open-ocean debris densities but resurvey of a UK and an Arctic island both found increases. We put our findings in the context of the Atlantic literature to interpret spatial and temporal trends in marine debris accumulation and its organismal consequences.
Article
Global set of trajectories of satellite-tracked Lagrangian drifters is used to study the dynamics of marine debris. A probabilistic model is developed to eliminate the bias in spatial distribution of drifter data due to heterogeneous deployments. Model experiments, simulating long-term evolution of initially homogeneous drifter array, reveal five main sites of drifter aggregation, located in the subtropics and maintained by converging Ekman currents. The paper characterizes the geography and structure of the collection regions and discusses factors that determine their dynamics. A new scale R(c)=(4k/|D|)(½) is introduced to characterize tracer distribution under competing effects of horizontal divergence D and diffusion k. Existence and locations of all five accumulation zones have been recently confirmed by direct measurements of microplastic at the sea surface.