On the quantity and composition of floating plastic debris entering and leaving the Tamar Estuary, Southwest England

Source: ScienceDirect

Authors: Saeed S. Sadri, Richard C. Thompson


The majority of plastic debris found in the marine environment has land based sources and rivers are considered an important medium for transfer of this debris. Here we report on the quantity and composition of floating plastic debris collected from surface waters of the Tamar Estuary. This represents the first study of riverine transport of floating plastic debris into European waters during different tidal regimes. Plastics were found in a variety of forms and sizes and microplastics (<5 mm) comprised 82% of the debris. The most abundant types of plastic were Polyethylene (40%), Polystyrene (25%) and Polypropylene (19%). There was a significant difference in size frequency distribution between the spring and neap tides with more fragments of larger size observed during spring tides. While it is clear that debris has accumulated on shorelines within the estuary, during our study this river did not identify as a net source or sink.


Wild gudgeons (Gobio gobio) from French rivers are contaminated by microplastics: Preliminary study and first evidence

Source: Science Direct

Authors: Wilfried Sanchez, Coline Bender, Jean-Marc Porcher


Marine ecosystem contamination by microplastics is extensively documented. However few data is available on the contamination of continental water bodies and associated fauna. The aim of this study was to address the occurrence of microplastics in digestive tract of gudgeons (Gobio gobio) from French rivers. These investigations confirm that continental fish ingested microplastics while 12% of collected fish are contaminated by these small particles. Further works are needed to evaluate the occurence of this contamination.

Plastic in the Thames: A river runs through it

Source: ScienceDirect

Authors: David Morritt, Paris V. Stefanoudis, Dave Pearce, Oliver A. Crimmen, Paul F. Clark


Although contamination of the marine ecosystems by plastics is becoming recognised as a serious pollution problem, there are few studies that demonstrate the contribution made by freshwater catchments. Over a three month period from September to December 2012, at seven localities in the upper Thames estuary, 8490 submerged plastic items were intercepted in eel fyke nets anchored to the river bed. Whilst there were significant differences in the numbers of items at these locations, the majority were some type of plastic. Additionally in excess of 20% of the litter items were components of sanitary products. The most contaminated sites were in the vicinity of sewage treatment works. While floating litter is visible, this study also demonstrates that a large unseen volume of submerged plastic is flowing into the marine environment. It is therefore important that this sub-surface component is considered when assessing plastic pollution input into the sea.

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