A comprehensive understanding of the concentration of microplastics (MPs) in seawaters is essential to implement monitoring programs and understand the impacts on ecosystems, as required by the European legislation to protect the marine environment. In this context, the purpose of this study is to investigate the composition, quantity, and spatial distribution of microplastics from coastal to offshore areas in three Italian seawaters. In addition, the distribution of microplastics between surface and subsurface water layers was analyzed in order to better understand the dynamics of MPs in the upper layers of the water column. A total number of 6069 MPs (mean total concentration of 0.029 microplastics · m-2) were found to be heterogeneous in type, shape, and color. In general, MPs concentrations decrease with coastal distance, except when environmental forcings are predominant (such as sea currents). Moreover, the amount of surface MPs was almost four times that of subsurface microplastics, which consisted mostly of fibers. In light of these results, it becomes clear how critical it is to plan remediation actions and programs to minimize microplastic accumulations in the sea.

From inshore to offshore. Distribution of microplastics in three Italian seawaters

Sbrana, Alice
Primo
;
Valente, Tommaso
Secondo
;
Silvestri, Cecilia
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

A comprehensive understanding of the concentration of microplastics (MPs) in seawaters is essential to implement monitoring programs and understand the impacts on ecosystems, as required by the European legislation to protect the marine environment. In this context, the purpose of this study is to investigate the composition, quantity, and spatial distribution of microplastics from coastal to offshore areas in three Italian seawaters. In addition, the distribution of microplastics between surface and subsurface water layers was analyzed in order to better understand the dynamics of MPs in the upper layers of the water column. A total number of 6069 MPs (mean total concentration of 0.029 microplastics · m-2) were found to be heterogeneous in type, shape, and color. In general, MPs concentrations decrease with coastal distance, except when environmental forcings are predominant (such as sea currents). Moreover, the amount of surface MPs was almost four times that of subsurface microplastics, which consisted mostly of fibers. In light of these results, it becomes clear how critical it is to plan remediation actions and programs to minimize microplastic accumulations in the sea.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1657322
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