Microplastics on the Portuguese coast

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76 Citations (Scopus)


Marine anthropogenic litter was analysed in eleven beaches along the Portuguese coast, over a two-year period (2011−2013). Of all collected items, 99% were plastic and 68% were microplastics (MP; 1–5 mm in diameter). Higher MP concentrations were found in winter/autumn, near industrial areas and/or port facilities and in beaches exposed to dominant winds. Resin pellets (79%) were the dominant category close to industrial areas and high concentrations of fragments and polymeric foams were found near fishing ports. The most frequent pellet size classes were 4 and 5 mm (respectively 47% and 42%). Results suggest that MP have predominately a land-based origin and are deliberately discarded or accidentally lost in watercourses and/or coastal areas. A combination of measures within stakeholders, namely industry and fishing sectors and share of good practices are needed to prevent marine anthropogenic litter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-302
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue numberPart A
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Beach accumulation
  • Marine anthropogenic litter
  • MSFD
  • Plastic pollution


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