Rainfall and Tidal Cycle Regulate Seasonal Inputs of Microplastic Pellets to Sandy Beaches

Catégorie : Détection et Caractérisation
Date :17 septembre 2020
Balthazar-Silva, Danilo; Turra, Alexander; Moreira, Fabiana Tavares; Camargo, Rita Monteiro; Oliveira, Andrea Lima; Barbosa, Lucas; Gorman, Daniel.
Frontiers in Environmental Science : 8
Microplastic contamination of coastal environments is a global problem and pellets used in industrial processes are a persistent and worldwide form of microplastic pollution. Regions that host port and petrochemical facilities are well known sources of plastic pellets to local and adjacent coastal areas. This study assessed pellet densities over regional and local scales to provide a greater understanding of the spatio-temporal variation in inputs to sandy beaches. Pellets were used as a proxy to undertake a multi-scale assessment of the spatial (local vs. regional) and temporal (tides and weather) stranding of microplastics. Microplastic variability differed between local and regional scales. Regional variation was driven by weather (i.e., rainfall) and distance from source. Local-scale variability was driven by distance from source (along shore), tidal cycle, and beach hydrodynamics. Our results address the drivers of large spatio-temporal variability in microplastic pollution and provide useful information for monitoring programs by pointing to the need to consider variability in inputs over both regional and local scales.