From macro to micro, from patchy to uniform: Analyzing plastic contamination along and across a sandy tide-less coast

Date of publication 29 June 2020

Authors Chubarenko, I.; Esiukova, E.; Khatmullina, L.; Lobchuk, O.; Grave, A.; Kileso, A.; Haseler, M.

Sources Marine pollution bulletin : 156, 111198.



In search of an effective method to evaluate plastic contamination, macrolitter (> 25 mm), mesolitter (5-25 mm), large microlitter (2-5 mm), large and small microplastics (2-5 mm and 0.5-2 mm) abundances in surface beach sands were simultaneously determined by two methods in four beach zones at six locations along the 100-km-long marine coast of the Curonian Spit National Park and the neighboring cities. Mean (median) content of plastic items per m(2) is 0.85 (0.33) for macro-, 1.48 (0.40) for meso-, 3.35 (0.68) for large microlitter, and 3235 (1800) for microplastics (0.5-5 mm). The distribution of litter and microplastics (0.5-5 mm) is highly variable along and across the beach. The abundance of small-microplastics (0.5-2 mm) at the beach face is similar for all the locations and replicates. Swash-zone mixing, water percolation, importance of sediment pore size (rather than grain size), natural sorting of plastic particles at the beach face are considered.

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