Floating microplastics in a coastal embayment: A multifaceted issue

Date of publication 17 August 2020

Authors Frias, Joao P. G. L.; Lyashevska, Olga; Joyce, Haleigh; Pagter, Elena; Nash, Roisin.

Sources Marine pollution bulletin : 158

DOILink https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111361


Floating microplastic debris at the ocean’s surface represents about 1% of all plastics found in the environment, with the remainder thought to be either deposited along the coast or sinks to the bottom of the ocean. This exploratory research on a coastal embayment in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean assesses floating microplastic densities and the potential influence of wind. A total of 1182 floating microplastic particles were retrieved from a total surface seawater volume of 2039.86 m(3). The average microplastic density (0.56 +/- 0.33 MP m(-3)) is based on a sample of 20 manta trawls. This study reports primary microplastics (microbeads) floating in Irish coastal waters for the first-time. Compared to similar bays in Europe, Galway Bay has a similar microplastic density range. Microplastics in surface waters are a multifaceted issue therefore, multiple types of sample collection along with associated environmental variables are recommended for coastal monitoring purposes.

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