The use of single-use or disposable plastic objects has massively increased during the last few decades, and plastic has become the main type of litter found in marine environments. The Adriatic Sea is seriously prone to marine litter pollution, and it collects about one-third of all the freshwater flowing into the Mediterranean, mainly via the river Po. This study investigated the type and composition of large microplastic debris collected in different sites in the Po Delta area. Visual classification was performed by relevant criteria, while chemical composition was assessed by infrared spectroscopy. The main plastic fraction is composed of polyolefin (76%), followed by polystyrene (19%). This proportion roughly matches global plastic production, rescaled after excluding plastics with negative buoyancy: all the identified compounds have a specific gravity lower than that of the seawater. Fragments (irregularly shaped debris) represent the most abundant category fraction (85%), followed by pellets, which represent roughly 10% of the total. Overall, the results provided an insight into large microplastic pollution in beach sediments in the Po delta area.

Characterization of Large Microplastic Debris in Beach Sediments in the Po Delta Area

Luca Cozzarini
;
Vanni Lughi
2023-01-01

Abstract

The use of single-use or disposable plastic objects has massively increased during the last few decades, and plastic has become the main type of litter found in marine environments. The Adriatic Sea is seriously prone to marine litter pollution, and it collects about one-third of all the freshwater flowing into the Mediterranean, mainly via the river Po. This study investigated the type and composition of large microplastic debris collected in different sites in the Po Delta area. Visual classification was performed by relevant criteria, while chemical composition was assessed by infrared spectroscopy. The main plastic fraction is composed of polyolefin (76%), followed by polystyrene (19%). This proportion roughly matches global plastic production, rescaled after excluding plastics with negative buoyancy: all the identified compounds have a specific gravity lower than that of the seawater. Fragments (irregularly shaped debris) represent the most abundant category fraction (85%), followed by pellets, which represent roughly 10% of the total. Overall, the results provided an insight into large microplastic pollution in beach sediments in the Po delta area.
2023
3-mar-2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3041101
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