Artificial neural networks for modeling time series of beach litter in the southern North Sea

 

Source: ScienceDirect

Authors: Marcus Schulz, Michael Matthies

Abstract

In European marine waters, existing monitoring programs of beach litter need to be improved concerning litter items used as indicators of pollution levels, efficiency, and effectiveness. In order to ease and focus future monitoring of beach litter on few important litter items, feed-forward neural networks consisting of three layers were developed to relate single litter items to general categories of marine litter. The neural networks developed were applied to seven beaches in the southern North Sea and modeled time series of five general categories of marine litter, such as litter from fishing, shipping, and tourism. Results of regression analyses show that general categories were predicted significantly moderately to well. Measured and modeled data were in the same order of magnitude, and minima and maxima overlapped well. Neural networks were found to be eligible tools to deliver reliable predictions of marine litter with low computational effort and little input of information.

Protected areas in the Atlantic facing the hazards of micro-plastic pollution: First diagnosis of three islands in the Canary Current

Source: ScienceDirect

Authors: Juan Baztan, Ana Carrasco, Omer Chouinard, Muriel Cleaud, Jesús E.
Gabaldon, Thierry Huck, Lionel Jaffrès, Bethany Jorgensen, Aquilino
Miguelez, Christine Paillard, Jean-Paul Vanderlinden

Abstract

Coastal zones and the biosphere as a whole show signs of cumulative degradation due to the use and disposal of plastics. To better understand the manifestation of plastic pollution in the Atlantic Ocean, we partnered with local communities to determine the concentrations of micro-plastics in 125 beaches on three islands in the Canary Current: Lanzarote, La Graciosa, and Fuerteventura. We found that, in spite of being located in highly-protected natural areas, all beaches in our study area are exceedingly vulnerable to micro-plastic pollution, with pollution levels reaching concentrations greater than 100 g of plastic in 1 l of sediment. This paper contributes to ongoing efforts to develop solutions to plastic pollution by addressing the questions: (i) Where does this pollution come from?; (ii) How much plastic pollution is in the world’s oceans and coastal zones?; (iii) What are the consequences for the biosphere?; and (iv) What are possible solutions?

 

Characteristics (abundance, type and origin) of beach litter on the Galician coast (NW Spain) from 2001 to 2010

Source: Scientia Marina

Authors: Jesús Gago, Fernando Lahuerta, Pilar Antelo

Abstract

In order to assess the situation of beach litter on the Galician coast (NW Spain), we conducted a seasonal series of sampling on three beaches: A Lanzada, Baldaio and O Rostro. A total of 79 surveys were conducted from 2001 to 2010 on a stretch of 100 m and a stretch of 1 km. A total of 37862 beach litter items were counted and classified on the 100-m stretch and 7845 on the 1-km stretch. The average annual value of litter items for the 100-m beach stretch was 1016±633, 88±31 and 332±183; for the 1-km stretch, the average value of litter items was 163±87, 42±31 and 81±38, for A Lanzada, Baldaio and O Rostro beaches, respectively. The most common element found in beach litter was made of plastic, with average percent of 63, 38 and 83 for A Lanzada, Baldaio and O Rostro, respectively. We found that the main source of beach litter was the fishing and aquaculture sector, with an average percent value of 23, 14 and 38 for A Lanzada, Baldaio and O Rostro, respectively.

 

Evidence of microplastics in samples of zooplankton from Portuguese coastal waters

Source: Science Direct

Authors: J.P.G.L. Frias, V. Otero, P. Sobral

Abstract

Records of high concentrations of plastic and microplastic marine debris floating in the ocean have led to investigate the presence of microplastics in samples of zooplankton from Portuguese coastal waters. Zooplankton samples collected at four offshore sites, in surveys conducted between 2002 and 2008, with three different sampling methods, were used in this preliminary study. A total of 152 samples were processed and microplastics were identified in 93 of them, corresponding to 61% of the total. Costa Vicentina, followed by Lisboa, were the regions with higher microplastic concentrations (0.036 and 0.033 no. m−3) and abundances (0.07 and 0.06 cm3 m−3), respectively. Microplastic: zooplankton ratios were also higher in these two regions, which is probably related to the proximity of densely populated areas and inputs from the Tejo and Sado river estuaries. Microplastics polymers were identified using Micro Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (μ-FTIR), as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyacrylates (PA). The present work is the first report on the composition of microplastic particles collected with plankton nets in Portuguese coastal waters. Plankton surveys from regular monitoring campaigns conducted worldwide may be used to monitor plastic particles in the oceans and constitute an important and low cost tool to address marine litter within the scope of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC).

A multi-criteria evaluation system for marine litter pollution based on statistical analyses of OSPAR beach litter monitoring time series

Source: ScienceDirect

Authors: Marcus Schulz, Daniel Neumann, David M. Fleet, Michael Matthies

Abstract

During the last decades, marine pollution with anthropogenic litter has become a worldwide major environmental concern. Standardized monitoring of litter since 2001 on 78 beaches selected within the framework of the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) has been used to identify temporal trends of marine litter. Based on statistical analyses of this dataset a two-part multi-criteria evaluation system for beach litter pollution of the North-East Atlantic and the North Sea is proposed. Canonical correlation analyses, linear regression analyses, and non-parametric analyses of variance were used to identify different temporal trends. A classification of beaches was derived from cluster analyses and served to define different states of beach quality according to abundances of 17 input variables. The evaluation system is easily applicable and relies on the above-mentioned classification and on significant temporal trends implied by significant rank correlations.

A multi-criteria evaluation system for marine litter pollution based on statistical analyses of OSPAR beach litter monitoring time series

Source: Marine Environmental Research

Authors: Marcus Schulz, Daniel Neumann, David Fleet, Michael Matthies

Abstract

During the last decades, marine pollution with anthropogenic litter has become a worldwide major environmental concern. Standardized monitoring of litter since 2001 on 78 beaches selected within the framework of the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) has been used to identify temporal trends of marine litter. Based on statistical analyses of this dataset a two-part multi-criteria evaluation system for beach litter pollution of the North-East Atlantic and the North Sea is proposed. Canonical correlation analyses, linear regression analyses, and non-parametric analyses of variance were used to identify different temporal trends. A classification of beaches was derived from cluster analyses and served to define different states of beach quality according to abundances of 17 input variables. The evaluation system is easily applicable and relies on the above-mentioned classification and on significant temporal trends implied by significant rank correlations.

OSPAR agrees further steps to protect the Marine Environment in Gothenburg

Source: OSPAR

On 28th June 2013 the OSPAR Commission agreed on several new and innovative measures in its mission to ensure that human activities in the North East Atlantic are carried out in step with the natural ecosystems of the North East Atlantic. Meeting in Gothenburg (Sweden) this week, the sixteen Contracting Parties to the OSPAR Convention agreed the following:
·         Areas of ecological or scientific interest in the high seas.  These are to be proposed as submissions to the Convention on Biodiversity, working together with the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission;
·         A first set of Common indicators to assess the status of the North East Atlantic and its subregions.  This is a step forward in coordinating and extending marine monitoring within the OSPAR area, as also required by the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive;
·         Joint Guidelines with the Helsinki Commission on the granting of Exemptions under the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention to prevent the spread of Non-indigenous species, pending the agreement at the HELCOM Ministerial in October 2013;
·         The first regional social and economic analysis of human activities across the entire North East Atlantic;
·         To develop by 2014 an ambitious Regional Action Plan to reduce the huge problem of marine litter on our seas and coastlines in the North East Atlantic;
·         OSPAR’s Contracting Parties have now achieved 10% coverage of MPAs in the Greater North Sea and are continuing with the ambition to increase this coverage over the wider OSPAR area.
  
Welcoming delegations to Gothenburg, State Secretary, Mr Andres Flanking said: “Our marine environment is a shared value and resource and the cooperation within the Regional Seas Convention OSPAR, is of great importance in our common challenges in reaching a healthy marine environment. Sweden appreciates the key role of OSPAR and the other Regional Seas Conventions (RSCs) in coordinating the implementation of the MSFD and supports the OSPAR work on common indicators in the context of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The Swedish government also acknowledges the valuable work that OSPAR Contracting Parties have carried out regarding marine protected areas and threatened and declining species and habitats. Finally, for us here in Sweden, marine litter is an issue of great concern. Every year, between 4000 and 8000 cubic meter of litter is washed ashore on the Swedish West Coast. Sweden therefore supports the development of reduction targets and welcomes OSPAR’s initiatives to develop measures and targets for marine litter. I can assure you that the Swedish government will work actively to support these endeavours”.
  
Mr Victor Escobar (Spain), Chairman of the OSPAR Commission said ‘I am pleased with the agreements we have made at this meeting of the OSPAR Commission. We have expressed our clear intention as OSPAR to expand our connection to the social and economic aspects of activity in our seas. As a real step towards that, we have started our plans for tackling marine litter, an important concern for the economy of our seas, for the environment and for human enjoyment of our seas and coasts. We have also made progress in the complex process of agreeing some common elements to monitoring the state of the marine environment. This will be the basis of improved cooperation, focused within the unique ecology of the seas of the North East Atlantic.  OSPAR has not yet been able to adopt a set of measures to protect 23 species and habitats that are at risk in the North East Atlantic, but continues to aim to deliver the Ministerial commitment on this issue, made in Bergen, Norway in 2010.
  
The Director General of Sweden’s Agency for Marine and Water Management, Björn Risinger added: “The establishment in 2011 of the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management was evidence of the importance of the marine environment to the Swedish government. Given the diverse nature of the sea, the management of human uses in sea is difficult and costly and cooperation and coordination are necessary if Good Environmental Status is to be achieved. It is in this respect that the RSCs have a very special role to play”. Since its inception OSPAR has in particular:
·         Banned dumping and incineration of wastes at sea;
·         Significantly reduced the input from the land of hazardous substances and nutrients;
·         Ensured discharges from nuclear power plants are the lowest recorded;
·         Regulated key aspects of the offshore oil and gas industry such as decommissioning;
·         Developed ecological quality objectives for a healthy ocean; and
·         Comprehensively evaluated the health of the North-East Atlantic in the Quality Status Report 2010.