Pegado, Tamyris, Andrades, Ryan, Noleto-Filho, Eurico, Franceschini, Simone, Soares, Marcelo de Oliveira ORCID:, Chelazzi, David, Russo, Tommaso, Martellini, Tania, Barone, Angelica, Cincinelli, Alessandra and Giarrizzo, Tommaso (2023) Meso- and microplastic composition, distribution patterns and drivers: A snapshot of plastic pollution on Brazilian beaches. Science of The Total Environment, 907 . p. 167769. DOI

[img] Text
Soares.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to Registered users only

Download (5MB)


Pollution by plastics is a worldwide problem on par with climatic change and biological invasions. In coastal sediments, plastic particles tend to accumulate and persist over the long term. We assessed the plastic pollution using a standardized surface sediment sampling protocol on 22 sandy beaches along >4600 km of the Brazilian coast. The abundance, size, color, type, and polymeric composition of all meso- and microplastic items found in the surveys were processed to disclose spatial patterns of distribution and pollution associated drivers. A General Linear Model (GLM) was run to investigate how the predictor variables influenced overall beach plastic amounts and by plastic type and size class. Overall, 3114 plastic items were found, with microplastics comprising just over half of all items (54 %). Most items were either white (60 %) or blue (13 %), while polystyrene foam (45 %) and fragments (39 %) comprised the most abundant plastic types. The principal polymers were Polyethylene (40 %) and Polypropylene (32 %). The analyses indicated that the distribution of plastic litter along beaches is determined by three predictive variables: the distance to the nearest estuary (−), tourism (+), and the number of inhabitants in the nearest urban center (+). Tourist (highly-visited) beaches and those near estuarine runoffs or urban centers presented the highest plastic pollution rates. The unveiling of plastic pollution patterns through a large-scale systematic survey is essential for future management guidance and science-based decisions for mitigating and solving the plastic pollution crisis.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: PA2
Research affiliation: Ecology > Reef Systems
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 00489697
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2024 11:14
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:31

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item