Water quality standards are essential for regulation of contaminants in marine environment. Seawater quality criteria (SWQC) for arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) have not been developed for India. The aim of this study is to derive the SWQC for the metals based on Species Sensitivity Distribution (SSD). Eight species of sensitive marine organisms belonging to five phyla were assessed for their sensitivity to toxicity of As, Cd and Pb. Median effective concentrations (EC50) and Median Lethal Concentrations (LC50) were derived from the acute toxicity bio-assays. No Observed Effect Concentrations (NOEC), Lowest Observed Effect Concentrations (LOEC) and chronic values were derived from chronic toxicity bio-assays. Diatoms were more sensitive to As with 96 h EC50 of 0.1 mg/l and copepods were more sensitive to Cd and Pb with 96 h EC50 of 0.019 mg/l and 0.05 mg/l respectively. Estimated NOECs ranged from 4.87 to 21.55 µg/l of As, 1.0 to 120 µg/l of Cd and 5.67 to 91.67 µg/l of Pb. Similarly, chronic values (µg/l) were in the range of 6.71–26.1, 1.38–170, and 7.67–91.67 of As, Cd and Pb respectively. The Criterion Maximum Concentration (CMC), Criterion Continuous Concentration (CCC) and Predicted No Effect Concentration (PNEC) values were prescribed as SWQC. The CMC (µg/l) of 19, 1.7 and 17 for As, Cd, and Pb were derived respectively for acute exposure during accidental marine outfalls. The CCC (µg/l) for As was 4.6, 1.1 for Cd and 5.9 for Pb are recommended as SWQC for protection of 95% of marine organisms. PNEC (µg/l) of 3.8 for As, 0.92 for Cd and 4.3 for Pb are suggested for highly disturbed ecosystems, shell fishing and mariculture uses of water bodies. These values are recommended as a baseline for site specific water quality criteria for the coastal waters of the country.
Pollution and Marine Debris
To evaluate the current microplastics (MPs) contamination on the NW coast of Portugal, opportunistic samples from coastal areas with different levels of anthropogenic impacts were analyzed. Water samples were collected from a coastal marine protected area, an urban estuary, a submarine wreck, and a recreational marina. An optimized protocol for the quantification of MPs, followed by visual identification and FTIR spectroscopy analysis was used to characterize MPs (polymer, type, size, color). MPs were found in all the case studies. A total of 2456 MPs particles were identified and classified as fibers (39%), film (39%), and fragments (22%). Up to 54% of MPs had a size range between 1 and 3 mm. Transparent was the dominant color (56%), followed by white (19%). Polyethylene and polypropylene were the main MPs polymers detected. Higher MPs concentration were found in areas associated with high intense fishing and shipping activities. This study showed that different types of MPs were present in all the aquatic environments surveyed, mainly in areas with more anthropogenic activities, emphasizing the need for measures to properly manage plastic litter and mitigate marine plastic pollution.
CircularSeas European Project, as part of the European Union Circular Economy , aims at promoting the Green Economy by encouraging the development of green products, parts and components by Maritime Industries. The strategy is a combination of Circular Economy principles, with the use of ocean plastic waste for developing new greener materials, and the uptake of advanced manufacturing technology, 3D printing, flexible enough to adapt to the manufacturing conditions for new eco-innovative small and medium parts and components. The paper presents the ongoing research in the project about strategies to introduce Circular Economy in the maritime sector from plastic wastes. This first prospective phase is focused on a series of interviews with each node stakeholders. The paper presents the survey results, together with the challenges to be faced for the implementation of Circular Economy in that specific scenario, despite the -apriori- short term low-profit disadvantages.
Most studies report the abundance of plastic items in the environment, but mass is an equally important currency for monitoring plastic pollution, particularly given attempts to balance the global plastic budget. We determined the size/mass composition of litter stranded on a remote, infrequently-cleaned sandy beach on the west coast of South Africa. Traditional surveys of superficial macro-litter were augmented by sieved transects for buried macro-litter (8-mm mesh), meso-litter (2-mm mesh) and sediment cores for micro-litter. Aggregating the data across all sampling scales, the total density was ∼1.9 × 105 anthropogenic particulate pollutants per linear meter of beach, 99.7% of which were microfibers (most of which are likely not ‘plastic’). Plastics comprised 99.6% of beach macro- and meso-litter by number and 89% by mass. Small items dominated samples numerically, but were trivial relative to larger items in terms of their mass. Buried litter accounted for 86% of macro-plastic items, but only 5% of the mass of macro-plastics, because smaller items are buried more easily than large items. The total density of plastic (∼1.2 kg⋅m–1), at least half of which was from fisheries and shipping, is much lower than predicted by global models of plastic leakage from land-based sources. Ongoing degradation of plastic items already in the environment, particularly on beaches, is likely to result in a marked increase in plastic fragments, even if we stop leaking additional plastic. The collection of large items from beaches is a useful stop-gap measure to limit the formation of micro-plastics while we formulate effective steps to prevent plastic leakage into the environment.
This study documented the levels of microplastics in three commercially important small pelagic fish species in South African waters, namely European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus), West Coast round herring (Etrumeus whiteheadi) and South African sardine (Sardinops sagax). Data suggested variation between species with a higher concentration of microplastics for S. sagax (mean of 1.58 items individual–1) compared to Et. whiteheadi (1.38 items individual–1) and En. encrasicolus (1.13 items individual–1). The occurrence of microplastics was also higher for S. sagax (72%) and Et. whiteheadi (72%) compared to En. encrasicolus (57%). Microfibers accounted for 80% of ingested microplastics (the remainder were plastic fragments) with the main ingested polymers being poly(ethylene:propylene:diene) (33% occurrence), polyethylene (20%), polyamide (20%), polyester (20%), and polypropylene (7%). The abundance of ingested items was not significantly correlated with fish caudal length or body weight, and spatial investigation indicated an increase in the abundance of ingested items from the West to the South coast. Etrumeus whiteheadi is proposed as a bio-indicator for microplastics for South Africa.
The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill significantly impacted the northern Gulf of Mexico (nGoM) deep benthos (>125 m water depth) at different spatial scales and across all community size and taxa groups including microbes, foraminifera, meiofauna, macrofauna, megafauna, corals, and demersal fishes. The resilience across these communities was heterogeneous, with some requiring years if not decades to fully recover. To synthesize ecosystem impacts and recovery following DWH, the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GOMRI) Core 3 synthesis group subdivided the nGoM into four ecotypes: coastal, continental shelf, open-ocean, and deep benthic. Here we present a synopsis of the deep benthic ecotype status and discuss progress made on five tasks: (1) summarizing pre- and post-oil spill trends in abundance, species composition, and dynamics; (2) identifying missing data/analyses and proposing a strategy to fill in these gaps; (3) constructing a conceptual model of important species interactions and impacting factors; (4) evaluating resiliency and recovery potential of different species; and (5) providing recommendations for future long-term benthic ecosystem research programs. To address these tasks, we assessed time series to detect measures of population trends. Moreover, a benthic conceptual model for the GoM deep benthos was developed and a vulnerability-resilience analysis was performed to enable holistic interpretation of the interrelationships among ecotypes, resources, and stressors. The DWH oil spill underscores the overall need for a system-level benthic management decision support tool based on long-term measurement of ecological quality status (EQS). Production of such a decision support tool requires temporal baselines and time-series data collections. This approach provides EQS for multiple stressors affecting the GoM beyond oil spills. In many cases, the lessons learned from DWH, the gaps identified, and the recommended approaches for future long-term hypothesis-driven research can be utilized to better assess impacts of any ecosystem perturbation of industrial impact, including marine mineral extraction.
The effect of long-term use on the catch efficiency of biodegradable gillnets was investigated during commercial fishing trials and in controlled lab aging tests. The relative catch efficiency between biodegradable and nylon gillnets was evaluated over three consecutive fishing seasons for Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in Norway. The biodegradable gillnets progressively lost catch efficiency over time, as they caught 18.4%, 40.2%, and 47.4% fewer fish than the nylon gillnets during the first, second, and third season, respectively. A 1000-hour aging test revealed that both materials began to degrade after just 200 h and that biodegradable gillnets degraded faster than the nylon gillnets. Infrared spectroscopy revealed that the chemical structure of the biodegradable polymer changed more than the nylon. Although less catch efficient than nylon gillnets, biodegradable gillnets have great potential for reducing both capture in lost fishing gear and plastic pollution at sea, which are major problems in fisheries worldwide.
Microplastic (MP) contamination has been well documented across a range of habitats and for a large number of organisms in the marine environment. Consequently, bioaccumulation, and in particular biomagnification of MPs and associated chemical additives, are often inferred to occur in marine food webs. Presented here are the results of a systematic literature review to examine whether current, published findings support the premise that MPs and associated chemical additives bioaccumulate and biomagnify across a general marine food web. First, field and laboratory-derived contamination data on marine species were standardised by sample size from a total of 116 publications. Second, following assignment of each species to one of five main trophic levels, the average uptake of MPs and of associated chemical additives was estimated across all species within each level. These uptake data within and across the five trophic levels were then critically examined for any evidence of bioaccumulation and biomagnification. Findings corroborate previous studies that MP bioaccumulation occurs within each trophic level, while current evidence around bioaccumulation of associated chemical additives is much more ambiguous. In contrast, MP biomagnification across a general marine food web is not supported by current field observations, while results from the few laboratory studies supporting trophic transfer are hampered by using unrealistic exposure conditions. Further, a lack of both field and laboratory data precludes an examination of potential trophic transfer and biomagnification of chemical additives associated with MPs. Combined, these findings indicate that, although bioaccumulation of MPs occurs within trophic levels, no clear sign of MP biomagnification in situ was observed at the higher trophic levels. Recommendations for future studies to focus on investigating ingestion, retention and depuration rates for MPs and chemical additives under environmentally realistic conditions, and on examining the potential of multi-level trophic transfer for MPs and chemical additives have been made.
Urban sources, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), untreated wastewater (not connected to WWTPs), and especially combined sewer overflow systems (CSS) including stormwater are major pathways for microplastics in the aquatic environment. We compile microplastics emission data for the Baltic Sea region, calculate emissions for each pathway and develop emission scenarios for selected polymer types, namely polyethylene (PE)/polypropylene (PP) and the polyester polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PE/PP and PET differ with respect to their density and can be regarded as representative for large groups of polymers. We consider particles between 20–500 μm with varying shapes. The emission scenarios serve as input for 3D-model simulations, which allow us to estimate transport, behavior, and deposition in the Baltic Sea environment. According to our model results, the average residence time of PET and PE/PP in the Baltic Sea water body is about 14 days. Microplastics from urban sources cause average concentrations of 1.4 PE/PP (0.7 PET) particles/m2 sea surface (20–500 μm size range) in the Baltic Sea during summer. Average concentrations of PET, resulting from urban sources, at the sea floor are 4 particles/m2 sediment surface during summer. Our model approach suggests that accumulation at the shoreline is the major sink for microplastic with annual coastal PE/PP and PET accumulation rates of up to 108 particles/m each near emission hot-spots and in enclosed and semi-closed systems. All concentrations show strong spatial and temporal variability and are linked to high uncertainties. The seasonality of CSS (including stormwater) emissions is assessed in detail. In the south-eastern Baltic, emissions during July and August can be up to 50% of the annual CSS and above 1/3 of the total annual microplastic emissions. The practical consequences especially for monitoring, which should focus on beaches, are discussed. Further, it seems that PET, PE/PP can serve as indicators to assess the state of pollution.
Coastal seas and oceans receive engineered nanoparticles that are released from nano-enabled consumer and industrial products and incidental nanoparticles that are formed as byproducts of combustion and friction. The marine environment is often perceived as a rapid sink for particles, because of the high salinity promoting the attachment between particles producing heavy agglomerates that sediment on the seafloor. In this work the effect of seasonal production of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) on particle stability is tested using seawater collected from the Gullmarn fjord in the winter, spring, and summer. A novel approach is used that is based on light scattering of the bulk particle population for tracking agglomerates and of single particles for tracking particles smaller than approximately 300 nm. Results show that organic particles formed from EPS during algal blooms are capable of stabilizing nanoparticles in marine waters for at least 48 h. In contrast, particles agglomerate rapidly in the same seawater that has previously been filtered through 0.02 μm pore size membranes. Furthermore, particles with fibrillar shape have been detected using atomic force microscopy, supporting the argument that organic particles from EPS are responsible for the stabilization effect. These results suggest that seasonal biological activity can act as an intermittent stabilization factor for nanoparticles in marine waters.