Reducing marine pollution from single-use plastics (SUPs): A review

Author: Riley E.J. Schnurr Vanessa Alboiu, Meenakshi Chaudhary, Roan A. Corbett, Meaghan E. Quanz, Karthikeshwar Sankar, Harveer S. Srain, Venukasan Thavarajah, Dirk Xanthos, Tony R. Walker
Year of Publication: 2018
Published: Marine Pollution Bulletin 137: 157-171

Abstract:
Single-use plastics, or SUPs (plastic bags, microbeads, cutlery, straws and polystyrene) are substantial sources of plastic marine pollution, yet preventable via legislative and non-legislative interventions. Various international legislative strategies have been reported to address plastic marine pollution from plastic bags and microbeads, but these have since been accompanied by recent increasing public awareness triggered by international agencies and organizations. The Sixth International Marine Debris Conference highlighted increasing intervention strategies to mitigate SUP pollution. This study presents new multi-jurisdictional legislative interventions to reduce SUPs since 2017 and incorporates emergence of new non-legislative interventions to mitigate other types of SUPs at individual and private-sector levels that complement or influence legislative interventions. Further, effectiveness of SUP bag interventions (e.g., bans vs. levies) to help reduce SUP marine pollution are presented and range between 33 and 96% reduction in bag use.

Keywords:
Plastic marine pollution, Single-use plastics (SUPs), Polystyrene, Plastic straws, Plastic cutlery, Legislative and non-legislative interventions

Citation:
Schnurr, R.E.J., Alboiu, V., Chaudhary, M., Corbett, R.A., Quanz, M.E., Sankar, K., Srain, H.S., Thavarajah, V., Xanthos, D., Walker, T.R., 2018. Reducing marine pollution from single-use plastics (SUPs): A review. Marine Pollution Bulletin 137: 157-171. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.10.001.

Link:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X18307033

Occurrence, sources, human health impacts and mitigation of microplastic pollution

Author: Samaneh Karbalaei, Parichehr Hanachi, Tony R. Walker, Matthew Cole
Year of Publication: 2018
Published: Environmental Science and Pollution Research 25(36): 36046–36063

Abstract:
The presence and accumulation of plastic and microplastic (MP) debris in the natural environment is of increasing concern and has become the focus of attention for many researchers. Plastic debris is a prolific, long-lived pollutant that is highly resistant to environmental degradation, readily adheres hydrophobic persistent organic pollutants and is linked to morbidity and mortality in numerous aquatic organisms. The prevalence of MPs within the natural environment is a symptom of continuous and rapid growth in synthetic plastic production and mismanagement of plastic waste. Many terrestrial and marine-based processes, including domestic and industrial drainage, maritime activities agricultural runoff and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) effluent, contribute to MP pollution in aquatic environments. MPs have been identified in food consumed by human and in air samples, and exposure to MPs via ingestion or inhalation could lead to adverse human health effects. Regulations in many countries have already been established or will soon be implemented to reduce MPs in aquatic environments. This review focuses on the occurrence, sources, and transport of MPs in terrestrial and aquatic environments to highlight potential human health effects, and applicable regulations to mitigate impacts of MPs. This study also highlights the importance of personality traits and cognitive ability in reducing the entry of MPs into the environment.

Keywords:
Microplastics, Microfibers, Marine freshwater and terrestrial microplastics, Controlling sources of microplastics

Citation:
Karbalaei, S., Hanachi, P., Walker, T.R., Cole, M., 2018. Occurrence, sources, human health impacts and mitigation of microplastic pollution. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 25(36): 36046–36063. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s1135.

Link:
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11356-018-3508-7

China’s ban on imported plastic waste could be a game changer (online). China’s ban could curb plastic waste (print)

Author: Tony R. Walker
Year of Publication: 2018
Published: Nature 553(7689)

Abstract:
China’s ban on imports of recycled plastic from developed countries takes effect this month. It could be a game changer if it weans us off plastic and forces us to seek sustainable alternatives. With no suitable strategies in place for dealing with this extra unexpected plastic, countries must quickly devise and implement alternative waste-management solutions (see also C. M. Rochman et al. Nature 494, 169–171; 2013). Many jurisdictions have legislation that prohibits dumping of plastic waste into landfill. And stockpiling plastic refuse is ill-advised, given the fire risk at storage sites (see, for example, go.nature.com/2dh3mbg). Moves to change consumer behaviour and implement strategies to cut plastic usage are gaining momentum. International policies and financial disincentives to curb the proliferation of single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads) are already showing positive results (D. Xanthos and T. R. Walker Mar. Pollut. Bull. 118, 17–26; 2017). These should be extended to include a ban on other items such as plastic drinking straws, and by widely introducing deposit-and-return schemes for plastic bottles.

Keywords:
China, Imported plastic waste, Ban

Citation:
Walker, T.R., 2018. China’s ban on imported plastic waste could be a game changer (online). China’s ban could curb plastic waste (print). Nature 553(7689): 405-405. DOI: 10.1038/d41586-018-00933-6.

Link:
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-00933-6

Should Canada’s foreign aid policy help address the environmental impact of single-use plastics?

Author: Riley E.J. Schnurr, Tony R. Walker
Year of Publication: 2019
Published: Proceedings of the Nova Scotia Institute of Science 50(1): 35-39

Abstract:
The international community, including those from governments to environmental non-governmental organizations and from individuals to corporations have been inundated recently with talk about the environmental impacts of single-use plastics (SUPs) – especially plastic shopping bags and straws (Schnurr and Walker 2018). In Nova Scotia, marine debris collected as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup included SUP items such as cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps, straws/stirrers, and plastic beverage bottles. which broadly mirror those across the rest of Canada. In addition, there were plastic fishing ropes and strapping bands (Pettipas et al. 2016). Microplastic fibers have also been found in intertidal sediments and blue mussels in Halifax Harbour (Mathalon and Hill 2014), and in most seawater grab samples collected in an ongoing study near Lunenburg (CBC News 2018). Canada’s Presidency at the 2018 G7 in Charlevoix had reducing marine plastic pollution, as one (of five) themes in “Working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy” (Government of Canada 2018; Ocean Plastics Charter 2018). After the June G7 meeting, all but two G7 leaders (including the European Union as one whole) committed to, among other announcements, an Ocean Plastics Charter (Japan and the US did not sign on, albeit for vastly different reasons) (Ocean Plastics Charter 2018). In democratic and bureaucratic fashion, the Plastics Charter contains five working areas, each with between two and six commitment actions. All are geared towards “[taking] action toward a resource-efficient lifecycle management approach to plastics in the economy” (Ocean Plastics Charter 2018). The plan is to move towards zero plastic waste, by reducing and recycling SUPs (Walker and Xanthos 2018). This is an are the most vulnerable (these two groups are often not the same). Environment Minister Catherine McKenna was optimistic the Ocean Plastics Charter could be a ‘Paris Agreement for plastics’. The Canadian leadership has spoken and has latched onto plastics as the eco-campaign of 2018. Now Canada needs to walk the talk.

Keywords:
Single-use plastics, Canada, Environmental impact

Citation:
Schnurr, R.E.J., Walker, T.R., 2019. Should Canada’s foreign aid policy help address the environmental impact of single-use plastics?: A commentary. Proceedings of the Nova Scotia Institute of Science 50(1): 35-39.

Link:
https://ojs.library.dal.ca/nsis/article/view/nsis50-1schnurr%2Cwalker

Spatial trends and drivers of marine debris accumulation on shorelines in South Eleuthera, The Bahamas using citizen science

Author: Kristal K. Ambrose, Carolynn Box, James Boxall, Annabelle Brooks, Marcus Eriksen, Joan Fabres, Georgios Fylakis Tony R. Walker
Year of Publication: 2019
Published: Marine Pollution Bulletin 142: 145-154

Abstract:
This study measured spatial distribution of marine debris stranded on beaches in South Eleuthera, The Bahamas. Citizen science, fetch modeling, relative exposure index and predictive mapping were used to determine marine debris source and abundance. Citizen scientists quantified debris type and abundance on 16 beaches within three coastal exposures (The Atlantic Ocean, Great Bahama Bank and The Exuma Sound) in South Eleuthera. Marine debris, (~2.5 cm or larger) on each beach was monitored twice between March–May and September–November 2013 at the same locations using GPS. Approximately, 93% of all debris items were plastic with plastic fragments (≤2.5 cm) being the most common. There were spatial differences (p ≤ 0.0001) in plastic debris abundance between coastal exposures. Atlantic Ocean beaches had larger quantities of plastic debris by weight and by meter (m) of shoreline. Stranded plastic may be associated with Atlantic Ocean currents associated with leakage from the North Atlantic sub-tropical gyre.

Keywords:
Marine debris, Plastic pollution monitoring, Citizen science, Relative exposure index (REI), Eleuthera, Bahamas, Atlantic Ocean

Citation:
Ambrose, K.K., Box, C., Boxall, J., Brooks, A., Eriksen, M., Fabres, J., Fylakis G., Walker, T.R., 2019. Spatial trends and drivers of marine debris accumulation on shorelines in South Eleuthera, The Bahamas using citizen science. Marine Pollution Bulletin 142: 145–154.

Link:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X19302206

Riverine Litter Monitoring – Options and Recommendations

Author: Daniel González, Georg Hanke, Gijsbert Tweehuysen, Bert Bellert, Marloes Holzhauer, Andreja Palatinus, Philipp Hohenblum and Lex Oosterbaan
Year of Publication: 2016
Published: JRC Technical Report. EUR28307 EN

Abstract:
Marine litter is an issue of global concern, as recognised by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). In order to establish programmes of measures that aim to reduce plastics and their possible impacts, sources of litter and their pathways to the marine environment need to be identified and quantified. Riverine litter input is estimated to be a major contributor to marine litter, but there is no comprehensive information about the amount of litter being transported through rivers to the sea. Furthermore, there are no harmonised methodologies for providing quantitative data for… comparable assessments of riverine litter. This technical report compiles the options for monitoring riverine litter and quantifying litter fluxes, focusing on anthropogenic litter. It includes the current scientific and technical background regarding litter in river systems, their flow regime and basic properties. The document aims to provide recommendations for monitoring approaches and methodologies. It also provides indications on the issues which need to be further developed in a collaborative approach. An extensive literature review has been performed in order to identify the existing options for the monitoring of litter items in rivers. Different monitoring methods are used in two environmental compartments: river water bodies and riverbanks. For a river water body, the river water surface can be monitored by visual observation and image acquisition, while collection methodologies of the water column include the use of retaining structures and sampling using grids, nets and filtration systems (with different mesh sizes and openings) at different water depths. Riverbank monitoring comprises the observation and eventual collection of litter items and sediment samples from the riverbanks. Methodologies are described and technical details are reported whenever available. As methodologies are further developed and basic research is ongoing, it is currently not possible to provide clear guidance on how to monitor riverine litter, though some initial recommendations can be made. General recommendations highlight the need for additional scientific knowledge, which should be made accessible to facilitate communication and coordination among key players in order to harmonise efforts and provide guidance at international level in a collaborative way. Knowledge gaps should be filled by analysing the outcome of these ongoing activities (the recommendations include a list of identified gaps). As there are no agreed monitoring methodologies at the international level, guidance on the monitoring of riverine litter is needed, including metadata requirements and reporting units. In order to quantify riverine litter input to the marine environment, monitoring methods have to provide data that can be related to river flow in order to be able to calculate litter fluxes (e.g. visual observation of the river water surface and collection method for the river water body).

Keywords:
Anti-pollution device, Aquatic environment, Coastal protection, Consumer behaviour, Data collection, Environmental monitoring, Environmental protection, Environmental research, Inland waterway, Marine ecosystem, Marine pollution, Pollution control, Pollution from land-based sources, Pollution of waterways, Research report, Sea, Water pollutant, Water pollution, Watercourse

Citation:
González, D., Hanke, G., Tweehuysen, G., Bellert, B., Holzhauer, M., Palatinus, A., Hohenblum, P., Oosterbaan, L., 2016. Riverine Litter Monitoring – Options and Recommendations. MSFD GES TG Marine Litter Thematic Report. JRC Technical Report. EUR28307 EN; doi.org/10.2788/461233.

Link:
https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/816a2049-dbb8-11e6-ad7c-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

Toward a Harmonized Approach for Monitoring of Riverine Floating Macro Litter Inputs to the Marine Environment

Author: Daniel González-Fernández and Georg Hanke
Year of Publication: 2017
Published: Frontiers in Marine Science 4(86): 1-7

Abstract:
A high percentage of the litter entering the marine environment is assumed to come from land-based sources, but freshwater litter inputs have not been quantified. The lack of data and knowledge on fluxes of riverine litter to the sea, i.e., quantities and sources, hinders implementation of appropriate environmental regulations and mitigation measures. Estimations of riverine litter inputs require a consistent and harmonized approach to gather comparable data. The visual observation of floating litter on rivers has been selected as a simple and robust methodology for litter monitoring. A collaborative network of 36 institutions has been set-up for large spatial coverage. Currently 58 rivers are being observed regularly. A tablet computer application has been developed for the monitoring of floating macro litter (>2.5 cm) to harmonize the visual observations. The application allows recording of the observed items, their size and geo-position data during monitoring sessions. A common agreed list of litter items and size ranges is used, providing a common harmonized approach for data collection and reporting.

Keywords:
Litter, Plastics, Floating debris, Environmental monitoring, Pollution, Marine litter, Riverine input

Citation:
González-Fernández, D., and Hanke, G., 2017. Toward a Harmonized Approach for Monitoring of Riverine Floating Macro Litter Inputs to the Marine Environment. Frontiers in Marine Science 4(86): 1-7. doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2017.00086.

Link:
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2017.00086/full

‘Down to the river’: amount, composition, and economic sector of litter entering the marine compartment, through the Tiber river in the Western Mediterranean Sea

Author: Roberto Crosti, Antonella Arcangeli, Ilaria Campana, Miriam Paraboschi and Daniel González-Fernández
Year of Publication: 2018
Published: Rendiconti Lincei. Scienze Fisiche e Naturali 29: 859-866

Abstract:
Land-based activities are, undoubtedly, the main source of marine litter, particularly in a highly populated closed sea basin, such as the Mediterranean Sea. Rivers, consequently, act as a pathway of mismanaged waste to the sea. While quantification of inputs is a difficult task, the assessment of abundance, composition trends and baselines, and the identification of sources and main sectors producing marine litter are of crucial importance to support the ability of policy makers to improve waste reduction measures. For this reason, the Joint Research Centre (JRC/RIMMEL) coordinated a network of several research bodies that monitored floating litter (> 2.5 cm) from fixed observation points located on rivers near the sea using the same systematic research protocol. In Italy, one of the surveyed rivers was the Tiber, the third longest river on the peninsula, which after running through the city of Rome divides into two branches before flowing into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Results of 1 year of monitoring, September 2016–August 2017, highlight that 82% of the floating items were plastic and belong to the food and cosmetic sector, and it was estimated that 85.4% (± 9.4) of litter items get into the sea each hour from the Tiber river canal in Fiumicino, of which approximately 30% were already fragmented.

Keywords:
Marine litter, Mediterranean Sea, Monitoring protocol, Riverine litter, Tibet river

Citation:
Crosti, R., Arcangeli, A., Campana, I., Paraboschi, M., González-Fernández, D., 2018. ‘Down to the river’: amount, composition, and economic sector of litter entering the marine compartment, through the Tiber river in the Western Mediterranean Sea. Rendiconti Lincei. Scienze Fisiche e Naturali 29: 859. doi.org/10.1007/s12210-018-0747-y.

Link:
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12210-018-0747-y

Floating Macro Litter in European Rivers – Top Items

Author: Daniel González-Fernández, Georg Hanke and RiLON network
Year of Publication: 2018
Published: UR 29383 EN, Publication office of the European Union, Luxembourg

Abstract:
The JRC exploratory project RIMMEL provides information about litter, mainly plastic waste, entering the European Seas through river systems. RIMMEL has collected data on riverine floating macro litter inputs to the sea. Data acquisition was based on the Riverine Litter Observation Network (RiLON) activities, which collected data from rivers in the European marine basins over a period of one year (September 2016 – September 2017). Data was collected by visual observations and documented with the JRC Floating Litter Monitoring Application for mobile devices, allowing a harmonized reporting,… compatible with the MSFD Master List of Categories for Litter Items. This report includes the Top Items lists of riverine floating macro litter, based on the total amount of litter items identified during RiLON activities and ranked by abundance. Top Items lists have been elaborated considering the whole database for the European Seas and further detailed for each individual European regional sea: Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and North-East Atlantic. The North-East Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea regions showed similar litter categories in their Top 20 Items. These two regions provided most of the available data, influencing the general Top Items list. In the Black Sea and Baltic Sea regions, where data availability was limited, the Top Items lists showed more differences among the different regions. Overall, the general Top Items list for the European Seas showed a predominance of plastic item categories (artificial polymer materials). As a whole, plastic items made up to 80.8% of all objects, with plastic and polystyrene fragments comprising 45% of the identified items in the database. Additionally, Single Use Plastics such as bottles, cover/packaging and bags were also ranked among the most frequently found floating litter. The similarities in the Top 10 and Top 20 items for the different regions, and the appearance of Single Use Plastics scoring high in the ranking, support the need for common actions against plastic pollution at EU level.

Keywords:
Aquatic environment, Data collection, Environmental monitoring, Environmental protection, Environmental research, Inland waterway, Pollution control, Pollution of waterways, Research report, Water pollutant, Water pollution, Watercourse

Citation:
González-Fernández, D., Hanke, G., RiLON network, 2018. Floating Macro Litter in European Rivers – Top Items. EUR 29383 EN, Publication office of the European Union, Luxembourg, ISBN 978-92-79-96373-5, doi.org/10.2760/316058.

Link:
https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/a0475f87-fc2d-11e8-a96d-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

Development of a jet pump based sampling system for freshwaters

Author: Gabór Bordos, Balazs Kriszt, Zoltan Palotai and Sandor Szoboszlay
Year of Publication: 2018
Published: MICRO 2018. Fate and Impact of Microplastics: Knowledge, Actions and Solutions.

Abstract:
Freshwater studies have mainly been adopting sampling methods from marine research, thus the most commonly used tool is the plankton or manta net, usually with a mesh size of 300 µm or 333 µm. There are certain conditions when application of these sampling systems is com- plicated onsmaller freshwater bodies. Also, the filtered water volume is not obviously defined (due to clogging) even if a flow meter is used. To avoid these difficulties, another sampling approach is needed. Thetechnique using a pump and a set of filters is more common during wastewater sampling than inlakes or rivers. Until now, only a few studies have presented sampling systems that were based on asubmersible or a jet pump, including stainless steel filters. We developed a mobile sampling system that has many benefits when it is applied in inland freshwaters. The size of the complete apparatus enables sampling from a smaller boat or from the shore as well. A jet pump is operated by an aggregator. A PVC hose with a brass foot valve including a 2 mm mesh size strainer is put right under the water surface and is connected to thepump. Water is filtered through a set of 10” stainless steel filter cartridges (variable mesh size) instainless steel housing. Water quantity is measured by a flowmeter precisely. To prevent clogging of the fine mesh size filter (60 im), we coupled two cartridges and put in a 300 im pre-filter. This system enables sampling of more than 2.000 L water even if the Secchi depth is no more than 10 cm (e.g. due to flood or plankton). Project no. KFI 16-1-2017-0477 has been implemented with the support provided by the Na- tional Research, Development and Innovation Fund of Hungary, financed under the ”Vallalati KFI 16” funding scheme.

Keywords:
Microplastic, Freshwater, Jet pump, Sampling

Citation:
Bordós, G., Kriszt, B., Palotai, Z., Szoboszlay, S. (2018): Development of a jet pump based sampling system for freshwaters. pp. 33-34. in Baztan J., Bergmann M., Carrasco A., Fossi C., Jorgensen B., Miguelez A., Pahl S., Thompson R.C., Vanderlinden J-P. (eds.) 2018, MICRO 2018. Fate and Impact of Microplastics: Knowledge, Actions and Solutions. P. 33-34. MSFS-RBLZ. ISBN 978-84-09-06477-9. CC-BY-NC-SA.

Link:
https://micro2018.sciencesconf.org/resource/page/id/8