This study evaluated monthly accumulation rates and types of marine debris washed ashore at a recreational beach in Point Pleasant Park, Halifax Harbour, between April and September 2005. Black Rock Beach is 70 m long and a total of 2129 marine debris items were collected and sorted, representing a mean accumulation rate of 355 (±68 SE) items month-1. The total weight of debris items was only 10.8 kg (mean 2 kg ±0.4 SE), however eighty-six percent of this debris was plastic material. The types of litter found included: tampon applicators, condoms (i.e., sewage-related debris [SRD]); plastic fast food packaging, confectionary wrappers, Styrofoam fragments, plastic bottles and caps, items of clothing, soft drink cans, cigarettes and cigarette holders (i.e., recreational or land-based debris); packing bands, nylon rope and nets (i.e., shipping- or fishing-related debris). These items were generated by recreational use of the park (52%), sewage disposal (14%) and from shipping and fishing activities (7%). It is suggested that a significant reduction in marine debris at recreational beaches may arise by improving public awareness of the environmental and aesthetic impacts of marine litter and future improvements to the municipal sewage disposal system.
Nova Scotia, Marine debris, Plastic debris, Sewage disposal, Public beaches
Walker, T.R., Grant, J., Archambault, M-C., 2006. Accumulation of marine debris on an intertidal beach in an urban park (Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia). Water Quality Research Journal of Canada 41(3): 256-262.
Massive accumulation of plastic particles has been reported for marine ecosystems around the world, posing a risk to the biota. Freshwater ecosystems have received less attention despite most plastic litter being produced onshore and introduced into marine environments by rivers. Some studies not only report the presence of microplastics in freshwater ecosystems, but show that contamination is as severe as in the oceans. In continental waters, microplastics have been observed in both sediments (predominantly lake shores but also riverbanks) and water samples (predominantly surface water of lakes and rivers). This review highlights recent findings and discusses open questions, focussing on the methodology of assessing this contaminant in freshwater ecosystems. In this context, method harmonisation is needed in order to obtain comparable data from different environmental compartments and sites. This includes sampling strategies (at spatial and temporal scales), sample treatment (taking into consideration high levels of organic matter and suspended solids) and reliable analytical methods to identify microplastics.
Emerging contaminants, Freshwater ecosystems, Lakes, Plastic debris, Plastic separation, Polymer identification, Rivers, Sediment, Urban water
Dris, R., Imhof, H., Sanchez, W., Gasperi, J., Galgani, F., Tassin, B., Laforsch, C., 2015b. Beyond the ocean: Contamination of freshwater ecosystems with (micro-)plastic particles. Environmental Chemistry 12(5): 539–550.