Floating macrolitter leaked from Europe into the ocean

Type Article
Date 2021-06
Language English
Author(s) Gonzalez-Fernandez DanielORCID1, 2, Cozar Andres1, 2, Hanke Georg3, Viejo Josue1, 2, Morales-Caselles Carmen1, 2, Bakiu Rigers4, Barcelo Damia5, 6, Bessa Filipa7, Bruge Antoine8, Cabrera Maria9, Castro-Jimenez JavierORCID10, Constant Mel11, Crosti Roberto12, Galletti Yuri13, Kideys Ahmet E.14, Machitadze Nino15, de Brito Joana Pereira16, Pogojeva Maria17, Ratola Nuno18, Rigueira Julia19, Rojo-Nieto Elisa20, Savenko Oksana21, 22, Schoeneich-Argent Rosanna, I23, Siedlewicz Grzegorz24, Suaria Giuseppe25, Tourgeli Myrto26
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Cadiz, Inst Univ Invest Marina, Dept Biol, Puerto Real, Spain.
2 : European Univ Seas, Puerto Real, Spain.
3 : European Commiss, Joint Res Ctr, Ispra, Italy.
4 : Agr Univ Tirana, Fac Agr & Environm, Dept Aquaculture & Fisheries, Tirana, Albania.
5 : Univ Girona, Catalan Inst Water Res ICRA CERCA, Girona, Spain.
6 : IDAEA CSIC, Dept Environm Chem, Water & Soil Res Grp, Barcelona, Spain.
7 : Univ Coimbra, MARE Marine & Environm Sci Ctr, Dept Life Sci, Coimbra, Portugal.
8 : Surfrider Fdn Europe, Biarritz, France.
9 : Paisaje Limpio Assoc, Majadahonda, Spain.
10 : Univ Toulon & Var, Aix Marseille Univ, Mediterranean Inst Oceanog, CNRS,IRD, Marseille, France.
11 : Univ Perpignan Via Domitia, Ctr Format & Rech Environm Mediterraneens, UMR CNRS 5110, Perpignan, France.
12 : Ist Super Protez & Ric Ambientale, BIO SOST, Rome, Italy.
13 : CNR, Biophys Inst, Pisa, Italy.
14 : Middle East Tech Univ, METU Inst Marine Sci, Mersin, Turkey.
15 : Tbilisi State Univ, LEPL Alexandre Janelidze Inst Geol, Dept Physicochem Res, Tbilisi, Georgia.
16 : Aguas Gaia EM, Vila Nova De Gaia, Portugal.
17 : State Oceanog Inst, Moscow, Russia.
18 : Univ Porto, Fac Engn, Lab Proc Engn Environm Biotechnol & Energy, Porto, Portugal.
19 : OIKOS Associa Def Ambiente & Patrimonio Regiao Le, Leiria, Portugal.
20 : Univ Cadiz, Dept Environm Technol, Int Campus Excellence Sea, Puerto Real, Spain.
21 : Ukrainian Sci Ctr Ecol Sea, Odesa, Ukraine.
22 : Natl Antarctic Sci Ctr Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine.
23 : Carl von Ossietzky Univ Oldenburg, Inst Chem & Biol Marine Environm, Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
24 : Polish Acad Sci, Inst Oceanol, Dept Marine Chem & Biochem, Sopot, Poland.
25 : CNR, Inst Marine Sci, Lerici, Italy.
26 : Univ Aegean, Dept Marine Sci, Lesbos, Greece.
Source Nature Sustainability (2398-9629) (Springer Science and Business Media LLC), 2021-06 , Vol. 4 , N. 6 , P. 474-483
DOI 10.1038/s41893-021-00722-6
WOS© Times Cited 123

Riverine systems act as converging pathways for discarded litter within drainage basins, becoming key elements in gauging the transfer of mismanaged waste into the ocean. However, riverine litter data are scarce and biased towards microplastics, generally lacking information about larger items. Based on the first ever database of riverine floating macrolitter across Europe, we have estimated that between 307 and 925 million litter items are released annually from Europe into the ocean. The plastic fraction represented 82% of the observed litter, mainly fragments and single-use items (that is, bottles, packaging and bags). Our modelled estimates show that a major portion of the total litter loading is routed through small-sized drainage basins (<100 km(2)), indicating the relevance of small rivers, streams and coastal run-off. Moreover, the major contribution of high-income countries to the macrolitter inputs suggests that reducing ocean pollution cannot be achieved only by improving waste management, but also requires changing consumption habits and behaviour to curb waste generation at source. The inability of countries with well-developed recovery systems to control the leakage of waste into the environment further supports the need to regulate the production and use of plastic on a global scale. Riverine systems help transfer mismanaged waste into the ocean, but riverine litter data are scarce. Using a database of riverine floating macrolitter across Europe, this study estimates that 307-925 million litter items-82% of which is plastic-are transferred annually from Europe into the ocean.

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Publisher's official version 13 3 MB Open access
Supplementary Methods, Figs. 1–5 and Table 1. 10 1 MB Open access
Reporting Summary 3 76 KB Open access
Supplementary Data The file contains five spreadsheets (Supplementary Data 1–5) with the data used to produce the analyses and results presented in the main manuscript. 90 KB Open access
Author Correction - 10.1038/s41893-022-01009-0 1 449 KB Open access
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Gonzalez-Fernandez Daniel, Cozar Andres, Hanke Georg, Viejo Josue, Morales-Caselles Carmen, Bakiu Rigers, Barcelo Damia, Bessa Filipa, Bruge Antoine, Cabrera Maria, Castro-Jimenez Javier, Constant Mel, Crosti Roberto, Galletti Yuri, Kideys Ahmet E., Machitadze Nino, de Brito Joana Pereira, Pogojeva Maria, Ratola Nuno, Rigueira Julia, Rojo-Nieto Elisa, Savenko Oksana, Schoeneich-Argent Rosanna, I, Siedlewicz Grzegorz, Suaria Giuseppe, Tourgeli Myrto (2021). Floating macrolitter leaked from Europe into the ocean. Nature Sustainability, 4(6), 474-483. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-021-00722-6 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00700/81209/