Plastic is everywhere—increasing evidence suggests that plastic pollution is ubiquitous and persistent in ecosystems worldwide. Microplastic pollution in marine environments is particularly insidious, as small fragmentation can increase interaction with biota and food chain access. Of particular concern is the Mediterranean Sea, which has become a large area of accumulation of plastic debris, including microplastics, whose polymeric composition is still largely unknown. In this study, we analyzed the polymeric composition, particle size distribution, shape, and color of small plastic particles (ranging from 50 to 5000 µm) collected from the sea surface in six stations at the center of the Mediterranean Sea. We also described, for the first time, the different distribution of microplastics from coastal areas up to 12 nautical miles offshore. The microplastic density was 0.13 ± 0.19 particles/m2, with a marked prevalence of smaller particles (73% < 3 mm) and a peak between 1 and 2 mm (34.74%). Microplastics composition analysis showed that the most abundant material was polyethylene (69%), followed by polypropylene (24%). Moreover, we reported a comparison of the two Calabrian coasts providing the first characterization of a great difference in microplastic concentration between the Tyrrhenian and Ionian sides (87% vs. 13%, respectively), probably due to the complex marine and atmospheric circulation, which make the Tyrrhenian side an area of accumulation of materials originating even from faraway places. We demonstrate, for the first time, a great difference in microplastic concentration between Tyrrhenian and Ionian Calabrian coasts, providing a full characterization and highlighting that microplastic pollution is affected by both local release and hydrography of the areas.

Microplastics in the center of mediterranean: Comparison of the two calabrian coasts and distribution from coastal areas to the open sea

Marrone A.;La Russa M. F.;Randazzo L.;La Russa D.;Pellegrino D.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Plastic is everywhere—increasing evidence suggests that plastic pollution is ubiquitous and persistent in ecosystems worldwide. Microplastic pollution in marine environments is particularly insidious, as small fragmentation can increase interaction with biota and food chain access. Of particular concern is the Mediterranean Sea, which has become a large area of accumulation of plastic debris, including microplastics, whose polymeric composition is still largely unknown. In this study, we analyzed the polymeric composition, particle size distribution, shape, and color of small plastic particles (ranging from 50 to 5000 µm) collected from the sea surface in six stations at the center of the Mediterranean Sea. We also described, for the first time, the different distribution of microplastics from coastal areas up to 12 nautical miles offshore. The microplastic density was 0.13 ± 0.19 particles/m2, with a marked prevalence of smaller particles (73% < 3 mm) and a peak between 1 and 2 mm (34.74%). Microplastics composition analysis showed that the most abundant material was polyethylene (69%), followed by polypropylene (24%). Moreover, we reported a comparison of the two Calabrian coasts providing the first characterization of a great difference in microplastic concentration between the Tyrrhenian and Ionian sides (87% vs. 13%, respectively), probably due to the complex marine and atmospheric circulation, which make the Tyrrhenian side an area of accumulation of materials originating even from faraway places. We demonstrate, for the first time, a great difference in microplastic concentration between Tyrrhenian and Ionian Calabrian coasts, providing a full characterization and highlighting that microplastic pollution is affected by both local release and hydrography of the areas.
2021
Calabrian coast, Marine strategy, Mediterranean Sea, Microplastic polymeric composition, Plastic pollution
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/325115
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