Are litter, plastic and microplastic quantities increasing in the ocean?

Type Article
Date 2021-12
Language English
Author(s) Galgani FrancoisORCID1, Brien Aleke Stoefen-O2, Weis Judith3, Ioakeimidis Christos4, Schuyler Qamar5, Makarenko Iryna6, Griffiths Huw7, Bondareff Joan8, Vethaak Dick9, Deidun Alan10, Sobral Paula11, Topouzelis Konstantinos12, Vlahos Penny13, Lana Fernanda14, Hassellov Martin15, Gerigny Olivia16, Arsonina Bera17, Ambulkar Archis18, Azzaro Maurizio19, Bebianno Maria João20
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, LER/PAC, Corsica, France
2 : World Maritime University, Malmö, Sweden
3 : Rutgers University, Newark, USA
4 : UNEP/ Mediterranean Action Plan, Athens, Greece
5 : CSIRO, Hobart, Australia
6 : Black Sea commission, Istanbul, Turkey
7 : British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
8 : BlankRome, Washington, USA
9 : DELTARES, Delft, The Netherlands
10 : Department of Geosciences, University of Malta, Msida, Malta
11 : MARE, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Caparica, Portugal
12 : University of the Aegean, Mytilene, Greece
13 : University of Connecticut, Groton, USA
14 : Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Niterói, Brazil
15 : University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
16 : IFREMER, LER/PAC, Toulon, France
17 : Ministère de l’Environnement et des Forêts, Antananarivo, Madagascar
18 : Toledo Technology Academy, Toledo, USA Archis Ambulkar
19 : Institute of Polar Sciences, Bologna, Italy
20 : CIMA/ Universitade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal Maria João Bebianno
Source Microplastics and Nanoplastics (2662-4966) (Springer Science and Business Media LLC), 2021-12 , Vol. 1 , N. 1 , P. 2 (4p.)
DOI 10.1186/s43591-020-00002-8
Keyword(s) Plastic pollution, Marine litter, Microplastics, Trends, Monitoring

Whilst both plastic production and inputs at sea have increased since the 1950s, several modelling studies predict a further increase in the coming years in these respective quantities. We compiled scientific literature on trends in marine litter, consisting largely of plastic and microplastics in the ocean, understanding that monitoring programs or assessments for these aspects are varied, frequently focusing on limited components of the marine environment in different locations, and covering a wide spectrum of marine litter types, with limited standardization. Here we discuss how trends in the amounts of litter in the marine environment can be compared with the information provided by models. Increasing amounts of plastic are found in some regions, especially in remote areas, but many repeated surveys and monitoring efforts have failed to demonstrate any consistent real temporal trend. An observed steady state situation of plastic quantities in many marine compartments and the fate and transport of plastic in the marine environment remain areas for much needed further research.

Full Text
File Pages Size Access
Publisher's official version 4 364 KB Open access
Additional file 1. 21 KB Open access
Top of the page

How to cite 

Galgani Francois, Brien Aleke Stoefen-O, Weis Judith, Ioakeimidis Christos, Schuyler Qamar, Makarenko Iryna, Griffiths Huw, Bondareff Joan, Vethaak Dick, Deidun Alan, Sobral Paula, Topouzelis Konstantinos, Vlahos Penny, Lana Fernanda, Hassellov Martin, Gerigny Olivia, Arsonina Bera, Ambulkar Archis, Azzaro Maurizio, Bebianno Maria João (2021). Are litter, plastic and microplastic quantities increasing in the ocean? Microplastics and Nanoplastics, 1(1), 2 (4p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :