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Riverine microplastics: Behaviour, spatio-temporal variability, and recommendations for standardised sampling and monitoring

Riverine microplastics: Behaviour, spatio-temporal variability, and recommendations for standardised sampling and monitoring
Riverine microplastics: Behaviour, spatio-temporal variability, and recommendations for standardised sampling and monitoring
Microplastics (synthetic polymer particles <5 mm in size) are currently of major research interest due to their ubiquity and persistence in the environment, as well as their alleged adverse impact on aquatic biota. Although most research to date has targeted microplastic pollution within the marine environment, riverine pathways deliver up to 80 % of plastic debris into the seas and oceans. The transfer mechanisms of microplastics through river systems, however, remain largely understudied. A number of authors have attempted to assess the fate of plastic particles in river systems, often reporting contrasting findings. This is mainly due to the heterogeneity of river systems combined with a lack of standardisation between the sampling protocols adopted. Here, we summarise the current state of knowledge on the riverine transport pathways of plastic debris and examine the typical spatio-temporal patterns in microplastic occurrence in river waters and sediments. Furthermore, we critically evaluate the commonly used sampling techniques and provide guidelines for unified field study design. Lastly, we identify issues that warrant further research and propose recommendations for future studies to improve our understanding of microplastics in the riverine environment. Standardisation of sampling methods will be vital for the development of a more reliable microplastic monitoring strategy and, on a longer timescale, the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures.
2214-7144
Skalska, Karolina
077d8622-d7a5-4f9b-9a3f-fcfebc3c35b5
Ockelford, Annie
e37f4ae6-dee0-4644-a313-019411cbb174
Ebdon, James E.
78d36597-6f28-4042-a29e-c40112cf9836
Cundy, Andrew B.
994fdc96-2dce-40f4-b74b-dc638286eb08
Skalska, Karolina
077d8622-d7a5-4f9b-9a3f-fcfebc3c35b5
Ockelford, Annie
e37f4ae6-dee0-4644-a313-019411cbb174
Ebdon, James E.
78d36597-6f28-4042-a29e-c40112cf9836
Cundy, Andrew B.
994fdc96-2dce-40f4-b74b-dc638286eb08

Skalska, Karolina, Ockelford, Annie, Ebdon, James E. and Cundy, Andrew B. (2020) Riverine microplastics: Behaviour, spatio-temporal variability, and recommendations for standardised sampling and monitoring. Journal of Water Process Engineering, 38, [101600]. (doi:10.1016/j.jwpe.2020.101600).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Microplastics (synthetic polymer particles <5 mm in size) are currently of major research interest due to their ubiquity and persistence in the environment, as well as their alleged adverse impact on aquatic biota. Although most research to date has targeted microplastic pollution within the marine environment, riverine pathways deliver up to 80 % of plastic debris into the seas and oceans. The transfer mechanisms of microplastics through river systems, however, remain largely understudied. A number of authors have attempted to assess the fate of plastic particles in river systems, often reporting contrasting findings. This is mainly due to the heterogeneity of river systems combined with a lack of standardisation between the sampling protocols adopted. Here, we summarise the current state of knowledge on the riverine transport pathways of plastic debris and examine the typical spatio-temporal patterns in microplastic occurrence in river waters and sediments. Furthermore, we critically evaluate the commonly used sampling techniques and provide guidelines for unified field study design. Lastly, we identify issues that warrant further research and propose recommendations for future studies to improve our understanding of microplastics in the riverine environment. Standardisation of sampling methods will be vital for the development of a more reliable microplastic monitoring strategy and, on a longer timescale, the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures.

Text
skalska_et_al_2020_final_accepted_MS - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 26 August 2021.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 14 August 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 26 August 2020
Published date: 1 December 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 443767
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/443767
ISSN: 2214-7144
PURE UUID: 91e56c49-079b-4e54-bb2c-9fc830f1b59c
ORCID for Andrew B. Cundy: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4368-2569

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Sep 2020 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 02:07

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