Pollution and Marine Debris

Monitoring biofouling as a management tool for reducing toxic antifouling practices in the Baltic Sea

Wrange A-L, Barboza FR, Ferreira J, Eriksson-Wiklund A-K, Ytreberg E, Jonsson PR, Watermann B, Dahlström M. Monitoring biofouling as a management tool for reducing toxic antifouling practices in the Baltic Sea. Journal of Environmental Management [Internet]. 2020 ;264:110447. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479720303819
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Over two million leisure boats use the coastal areas of the Baltic Sea for recreational purposes. The majority of these boats are painted with toxic antifouling paints that release biocides into the coastal ecosystems and negatively impact non-targeted species. Regulations concerning the use of antifouling paints differ dramatically between countries bordering the Baltic Sea and most of them lack the support of biological data. In the present study, we collected data on biofouling in 17 marinas along the Baltic Sea coast during three consecutive boating seasons (May–October 2014, 2015 and 2016). In this context, we compared different monitoring strategies and developed a fouling index (FI) to characterise marinas according to the recorded biofouling abundance and type (defined according to the hardness and strength of attachment to the substrate). Lower FI values, i.e. softer and/or less abundant biofouling, were consistently observed in marinas in the northern Baltic Sea. The decrease in FI from the south-western to the northern Baltic Sea was partially explained by the concomitant decrease in salinity. Nevertheless, most of the observed changes in biofouling seemed to be determined by local factors and inter-annual variability, which emphasizes the necessity for systematic monitoring of biofouling by end-users and/or authorities for the effective implementation of non-toxic antifouling alternatives in marinas. Based on the obtained results, we discuss how monitoring programs and other related measures can be used to support adaptive management strategies towards more sustainable antifouling practices in the Baltic Sea.

Environmental Status of Italian Coastal Marine Areas Affected by Long History of Contamination

Ausili A, Bergamin L, Romano E. Environmental Status of Italian Coastal Marine Areas Affected by Long History of Contamination. Frontiers in Environmental Science [Internet]. 2020 ;8. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2020.00034/full
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

In the first decades of 2000s, several Italian sites affected by strong anthropogenic impact were recognized as Sites of National Interest (SINs) for a successive reclamation project, some of which also including marine sectors. These coastal areas are characterized by high complexity and diversity as regards the natural setting as well as for extent, history, type, and degree of contamination. For this, the Italian Ministry of Environment charged its scientific research Institute (earlier ICRAM, now ISPRA) with planning a flexible, adaptable, and large-scale environmental characterization. In this context, the investigation of marine sediments was identified as the primary target to assess the environmental status, because of their conservative capacity with respect to contaminants and their role in the exchange processes with other environmental matrices, such as water column and aquatic organisms. A multidisciplinary, chemical–physical, and ecotoxicological survey was identified as the most appropriate and objective criterion for assessing the sediment quality associated, when necessary, with integrative studies. The results derived from this multidisciplinary approach highlighted the main sources of contamination, together with size and extent of the environmental impact on the coastal marine areas, strictly correlated with the kind of anthropogenic activities and coastal morphology. In order to underline how the different environmental setting influences the degree of anthropogenic impact, four different case studies, selected among the more complex by geochemical and geomorphological viewpoints and more extensively studied, were considered. A comprehensive evaluation of these case studies allowed to deduce some general principles concerning the effects of anthropogenic impact, which can be applicable to other transitional and marine coastal areas.

Microplastics on sandy beaches of the southern Baltic Sea

Urban-Malinga B, Zalewski M, Jakubowska A, Wodzinowski T, Malinga M, Pałys B, Dąbrowska A. Microplastics on sandy beaches of the southern Baltic Sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2020 ;155:111170. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X20302885
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Microplastic occurrence and composition were investigated along the Polish coast (southern Baltic Sea) on 12 beaches differing in terms of intensity of their touristic exploitation, urbanisation and sediment characteristics. Their mean concentrations varied between 76 and 295 items per kg dry sediment. Fibres and plastic fragments were the dominant microplastic types. Overall, no relationship was found between their concentrations and sediment characteristics. Fine sediments were not identified as microplastic pollution traps. The highest microplastic concentrations were recorded at some urban beaches indicating that population density and the level of coastal infrastructure development are important factors affecting microplastic pollution level on beaches. On the other hand, microplastic concentrations in national parks did not differ substantially from the other beaches. Our results suggest that sediment accumulation processes may exceed microplastic accumulation, and overcome the effect of tourism and/or urbanisation, highlighting the role of the beach hydrodynamic status in structuring beach microplastic pollution.

Finding Plastic Patches in Coastal Waters using Optical Satellite Data

Biermann L, Clewley D, Martinez-Vicente V, Topouzelis K. Finding Plastic Patches in Coastal Waters using Optical Satellite Data. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 2020 ;10(1). Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-62298-z
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Satellites collecting optical data offer a unique perspective from which to observe the problem of plastic litter in the marine environment, but few studies have successfully demonstrated their use for this purpose. For the first time, we show that patches of floating macroplastics are detectable in optical data acquired by the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-2 satellites and, furthermore, are distinguishable from naturally occurring materials such as seaweed. We present case studies from four countries where suspected macroplastics were detected in Sentinel-2 Earth Observation data. Patches of materials on the ocean surface were highlighted using a novel Floating Debris Index (FDI) developed for the Sentinel-2 Multi-Spectral Instrument (MSI). In all cases, floating aggregations were detectable on sub-pixel scales, and appeared to be composed of a mix of seaweed, sea foam, and macroplastics. Building first steps toward a future monitoring system, we leveraged spectral shape to identify macroplastics, and a Naïve Bayes algorithm to classify mixed materials. Suspected plastics were successfully classified as plastics with an accuracy of 86%.

Microplastic in the Coastal Sea Waters of Russian Far East

Blinovskaya Y, Zakharenko A, Golokhvast K, Chernysh O, Zubtsova I. Microplastic in the Coastal Sea Waters of Russian Far East. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science [Internet]. 2020 ;459:052068. Available from: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1755-1315/459/5/052068/meta
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Their availability, low cost, applicability in virtually any industrial sector and any household have not only resulted in plastics becoming an everywhere used material, but owing to its specific structure resulting in an issue pertaining to environmental pollution. There are 13 monitoring stations within research area to include recreational and industrial areas differing in hydrodynamic behaviour. The research geography bearing in mind the Russia's scale is not vast so far, yet it is being expanded yearly. Research was done at seven Vladivostok beaches, two beaches at the head of the Amur Bay and three beaches of the Posyet Bay. All the samples taken at the western side of the bay at the depths of 2-6m contained microplastic particles. Quality analysis of all the samples collected was carried out using mass-spectrometric method and that of infrared microscopy. It has been found that the chemical constitution of the samples studied is represented mostly by polyethene, polypropylene, particles of polystyrene and polyvinylchloride. Coastal samples frequently contain cellulose. A certain amount of methylaniline, formaldehydes, and monocarbozides was detected. All the said gives ground for ascertaining harmful influence of microplastics not only on sea water quality but on the state of marine biota.

Perfluoroalkyl substances in sediments from the Bering Sea to the western Arctic: Source and pathway analysis

Lin Y, Jiang J-J, Rodenburg LA, Cai M, Wu Z, Ke H, Chitsaz M. Perfluoroalkyl substances in sediments from the Bering Sea to the western Arctic: Source and pathway analysis. Environment International [Internet]. 2020 ;139:105699. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019339315
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Although perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are ubiquitous in the Arctic, their dominant pathways to the Arctic remain unclear. Most modeling studies support major oceanic transport for PFASs in the Arctic seawater, but this conclusion contradicts the rapid response of PFASs to global emissions in some biota species. Sediments, which act as important PFAS sinks for seawater and potential PFAS source to the benthic food web, are important for interpreting the fate of PFASs in the Arctic. Here we investigate the occurrence of 9 PFASs in one core (1945–2014) and 29 surface sediments from the Bering Sea to the western Arctic. Total PFAS concentrations (0.06–1.73 ng/g dw) in surface sediments were dominated by perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and perfluorobutyl sulfonate (PFBS), with higher levels in the Bering Sea slope and the northeast Chukchi Sea. Historical trends in PFASs varied among individuals, with PFOS declining in the early 2000s while PFNA showing an increasing up-core trend. Analysis of positive matrix factorization model identified that the major PFAS sources in the sediment core were dominated by the atmospheric oxidation of consumer use of PFOS precursor-based products (45.0%), while the oceanic transport of fluoropolymer manufacture of polyvinylidene fluoride (mainly PFNA) exhibited an increasing trend over time, becoming dominant in surface sediments (42.8%). Besides, local input of possible aqueous fire-fighting foams (mainly PFOS and PFBS) also acted as an important source currently (30.1%) and historically (34.9%). Our study revealed that the pathways of PFASs in Arctic sediments varied greatly for individuals and the conclusion of PFOS originating from mainly atmospheric oxidation was different from seawater modeling results. This, together with the high possibility of sediments as direct source to Arctic food web (supported by similar PFAS compositions and temporal variations), help provide additional evidence regarding PFAS pathways to the Arctic.

Delineating the global plastic marine litter challenge: clarifying the misconceptions

Hahladakis JN. Delineating the global plastic marine litter challenge: clarifying the misconceptions. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment [Internet]. 2020 ;192(5). Available from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10661-020-8202-9
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Plastics, owing to their various beneficial properties (durability, flexibility and lightweight nature), are widely regarded as the workhorse material of our modern society. Being ubiquitously and increasingly present over the past 60 years, they provide various benefits to the global economy. However, inappropriate and/or uncontrolled disposal practices, poor waste management infrastructure, and application of insufficient recycling technologies, coupled with a lack of public awareness and incentives, have rendered plastic waste (PW) omnipresent, littering both the marine and the terrestrial environment with multifaceted impacts. The plastic marine litter issue has received much attention, especially in the past decade. There is a plethora of articles and reports released on an annual basis, as well as a lot of ongoing research, which render the issue either to be overexposured or misconstrued. In addition, there are several misinterpretations that surround the presence and environmental impact of plastics in the oceans and, consequently, human health, that require much more critical and scientific thinking. This short communication aims at unveiling any existing misconceptions and attempts to place this global challenge within its real magnitude, based either on scientific facts or nuances.

Mitigation strategies to reverse the rising trend of plastics in Polar Regions

Eriksen M, Borgogno F, Villarrubia-Gómez P, Anderson E, Box C, Trenholm N. Mitigation strategies to reverse the rising trend of plastics in Polar Regions. Environment International [Internet]. 2020 ;139:105704. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019337742
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Plastic marine pollution in the Arctic today illustrates the global distribution of plastic waste of all sizes traveling by wind and waves, entering food chains, and presenting challenges to management and mitigation. While currents move plastics from lower latitudes into the Arctic, significant waste is also generated by remote communities, as well as maritime activities, such as shipping, fishing and tourism, which are increasing their activities as seasonal sea ice diminishes. Mitigation strategies may include monitoring programs of plastic waste abundance and distribution, improved waste management in Arctic communities, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) to reverse the transport of waste plastics and packaging from remote communities, incentivized gear recovery of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG), gear tagging and tracking, and restricting tourism and employing “leave no trace” policies. Here we report how these mitigation strategies are employed in the Arctic to minimize plastic waste impacts, and move Arctic communities toward better materials management and circular economic practices. The evidence of harm from waste plastics exacerbated by the ubiquity of plastic marine pollution in all biomes, and the rapid reporting of ecological and social costs, together suggest that we know enough to act quickly to manage and mitigate plastics from all sources to the Arctic.

Mapping the potential pollution of fisheries industry wastewater in the Southern Coast of Jember Regency: Preliminary study on wastewater management planning

Ariyunita S, Listyawati RN. Mapping the potential pollution of fisheries industry wastewater in the Southern Coast of Jember Regency: Preliminary study on wastewater management planning. Journal of Physics: Conference Series [Internet]. 2020 ;1465:012004. Available from: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/1465/1/012004/meta
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Fisheries industries produce wastewater as by-product. Based on preliminary surveys, there is no integrated wastewater management in the Southern Coast of Jember Regency where the centre fisheries industry was taken place. This study aims to find areas that are potentially polluted by fisheries industries wastewater and offer the information for planning integrated wastewater management in the coastal area of Jember Regency. We collected primary and secondary data about fish processing production and the impact of wastewater for environment. The results were analysed descriptively and potentially polluted areas were mapped with Arc-Gis software. The study area involves two sub-districts, Puger and Ambulu sub-district. Surveys conducted to 16 fisheries industries showed that 81.25% of them discharged the untreated wastewater into the stream directly. Wastewater disposal into the stream not only cause pollution in water bodies but also cause pollution in the Indian Ocean.

Estimating the size distribution of plastics ingested by animals

Jâms IB, Windsor FM, Poudevigne-Durance T, Ormerod SJ, Durance I. Estimating the size distribution of plastics ingested by animals. Nature Communications [Internet]. 2020 ;11(1). Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-15406-6
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The ingestion of plastics appears to be widespread throughout the animal kingdom with risks to individuals, ecosystems and human health. Despite growing information on the location, abundance and size distribution of plastics in the environment, it cannot be assumed that any given animal will ingest all sizes of plastic encountered. Here, we use published data to develop an allometric relationship between plastic consumption and animal size to estimate the size distribution of plastics feasibly ingested by animals. Based on more than 2000 gut content analyses from animals ranging over three orders of magnitude in size (lengths 9 mm to 10 m), body length alone accounts for 42% of the variance in the length of plastic an animal may ingest and indicates a size ratio of roughly 20:1 between animal body length and the largest plastic the animal may ingest. We expect this work to improve global assessments of plastic pollution risk by introducing a quantifiable link between animals and the plastics they can ingest.

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