Microplastics - a never-ending story

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Microplastics constituted about ~70% of plastic items found in a survey of the Portuguese coast.Pellets, within the size range of 3-5 mm, were the more abundant size class, and represented 57%of all plastic collected per m2. Beaches near industrial sites or port facilities had significantly higheramounts of resin pellets.Beaches located downstream from industries and/or port facilities presented higher quantity ofplastic debris and microplastics as well as higher concentrations of POP (PAH, PCB and DDT).PAH contamination was mostly from petrogenic origin. Sines, an industrial site with port facilities,presented the highest PAH concentration. The highest PCB and DDT contamination were foundat Matosinhos, an important port facility. White translucent PE pellets showed lower contaminantvalues when compared to yellow-brown (aged) ones, reflecting their residence time in the waters.Microplastic: zooplankton ratios were higher in areas under the influence of river input and theproximity of densely populated areas draining to the Tejo and Sado river estuaries. Most commonpolymers in our samples were polyethylene (PP) and polypropylene (PE) and to a lesser extentpolyacrylates (PA) and polyurethane (PU). These results reflect the present and past decades ofworldwide industrial production and intensive use.Though research on microplastics has grown consistently over the last decade there are stillimportant gaps in knowledge, namely those concerning the extent of the harm to marine organisms,the toxic effects of these particles towards the biota, and how this may affect humans, e.g., throughthe consumption of fish.
Original languageUnknown
Title of host publicationCIESM Workshop Monographs, Monaco
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
EventMarine litter in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. -
Duration: 1 Jan 2014 → …


ConferenceMarine litter in the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
Period1/01/14 → …

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