Following the widespread assumption that a majority of ubiquitous marine microplastic particles originate from land-based sources, recent studies identify rivers as important pathways for microplastic particles (MPP) to the oceans. Yet a detailed understanding of the underlying processes and dominant sources is difficult to obtain with the existing accurate but extremely time-consuming methods available for the identification of MPP.
Thus in the presented study, a novel approach applying short-wave infrared imaging spectroscopy for the quick and semi-automated identification of MPP is applied in combination with a multitemporal survey concept. Volume-reduced surface water samples were taken from transects at ten points along a major watercourse running through the South of Berlin, Germany, on six dates. After laboratory treatment, the samples were filtered onto glass fiber filters, scanned with an imaging spectrometer and analyzed by image processing.
The presented method allows to count MPP, classify the plastic types and determine particle sizes. At the present stage of development particles larger than 450 μm in diameter can be identified and a visual validation showed that the results are reliable after a subsequent visual final check of certain typical error types. Therefore, the method has the potential to accelerate microplastic identification by complementing FTIR and Raman microspectroscopy. Technical advancements (e.g. new lens) will allow lower detection limits and a higher grade of automatization in the near future.
The resulting microplastic concentrations in the water samples are discussed in a spatio-temporal context with respect to the influence (i) of urban areas, (ii) of effluents of three major Berlin wastewater treatment plants discharging into the canal and (iii) of precipitation events. Microplastic concentrations were higher downstream of the urban area and after precipitation. An increase in microplastic concentrations was discernible for the wastewater treatment plant located furthest upstream though not for the other two.
This paper examines the exposure of river systems to MPW in order to better understand the sedimentary processes that control the legacy of plastic waste. According to the study, about 0.8 million tonnes of MPW entered rivers globally in 2015, affecting about 84 percent of rivers by surface area. According to the study, the amount[…]
The article summarizes the results of various scientific studies regarding the presence of microplastics in different drinking water sources. Further research is required to understand the effects of microplastic bioaccumulation on living organisms. There is a growing concern about microplastic pollution in the environment, which needs to be addressed and further research should be conducted[…]
Based on a custom framework for MPP policy that combines circular economy (CE) and life-cycle perspectives, the paper provides an overview of existing policies and identifies further policy options. Approximately 300 million tons of MPP are produced annually by land-based sources, which severely impacts marine ecosystems and harms livelihoods. Microplastic pollution is an issue that[…]
This review seeks to identify the complexity of impacts to marine organisms through the food web from plastic contamination. Contamination from plastic debris in marine environments pose a substantial risk to marine organisms, food webs and the ecosystem. The study investigates the intrusion of plastics into the marine food web and the subsequent consequences of[…]
The review highlights the extent and rate of the biodegradation of bioplastic in composting, soil, and aquatic environments. Bioplastic alternatives to petroleum-derived plastics are becoming more and more prevalent and have the potential to make a significant contribution to reducing plastic pollution in the environment. However, their biodegradation is highly dependent on various factors in[…]