An inshore–offshore sorting system revealed from global classification of ocean litter

Type Article
Date 2021-06
Language English
Author(s) Morales-Caselles CarmenORCID1, Viejo Josué1, Martí Elisa1, González-Fernández DanielORCID1, Pragnell-Raasch Hannah2, González-Gordillo J. Ignacio1, Montero Enrique3, Arroyo Gonzalo M.ORCID1, Hanke Georg4, Salvo Vanessa S.5, Basurko Oihane C.ORCID6, Mallos Nicholas7, Lebreton Laurent8, Echevarría Fidel1, Van Emmerik TimORCID9, Duarte Carlos M.ORCID10, Gálvez José A.1, Van Sebille ErikORCID11, Galgani FrancoisORCID12, García Carlos M1, 13, Ross Peter S., Bartual Ana1, Ioakeimidis Christos14, Markalain GorkaORCID1, Isobe AtsuhikoORCID15, Cózar AndrésORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Departamento de Biología, University of Cadiz and European University of the Seas (SEA-EU), Instituto Universitario de Investigación Marina (INMAR), Puerto Real, Spain
2 : Project Aware, Dive Against Debris, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
3 : Asociación Proyecto Ecopuertos, Cádiz, Spain
4 : European Commission Joint Research Centre, Directorate D – Sustainable Resources, European Commission, Ispra, Italy
5 : Posidonia Green Project, Barcelona, Spain
6 : AZTI Marine Research, Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA), Pasaia, Spain
7 : Ocean Conservancy, Portland, OR, USA
8 : The Ocean Cleanup, Rotterdam, Netherlands
9 : Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands
10 : Red Sea Research Centre (RSRC) and Computational Bioscience Research Center (CBRC), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
11 : Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
12 : IFREMER (French Institute for Research and Exploitation of the Sea), Immeuble Agostini, Z.I. Furiani, Bastia, France
13 : Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
14 : UNEP/ Mediterranean Action Plan, Barcelona Convention Secretariat, Athens, Greece
15 : Research Institute for Applied Mechanics, Kyushu University, Kasuga, Japan
Source Nature Sustainability (2398-9629) (Springer Science and Business Media LLC), 2021-06 , Vol. 4 , N. 6 , P. 484-493
DOI 10.1038/s41893-021-00720-8
WOS© Times Cited 108

The surge of research on marine litter is generating important information on its inputs, distribution and impacts, but data on the nature and origin of the litter remain scattered. Here, we harmonize worldwide litter-type inventories across seven major aquatic environments and find that a set of plastic items from take-out food and beverages largely dominates global litter, followed by those resulting from fishing activities. Compositional differences between environments point to a trend for litter to be trapped in nearshore areas so that land-sourced plastic is released to the open ocean, predominantly as small plastic fragments. The world differences in the composition of the nearshore litter sink reflected socioeconomic drivers, with a reduced relative weight of single-use items in high-income countries. Overall, this study helps inform urgently needed actions to manage the production, use and fate of the most polluting human-made items on our planet, but the challenge remains substantial.

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Publisher's official version 13 3 MB Open access
Supplementary Information Supplementary Methods, Table 1, Figs. 1–8 and references. 16 1 MB Open access
Reporting Summary 3 75 KB Open access
Supplementary Tables Supplementary Tables 2–4. 80 KB Open access
Supplementary Data Conversion tool. 103 KB Open access
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Morales-Caselles Carmen, Viejo Josué, Martí Elisa, González-Fernández Daniel, Pragnell-Raasch Hannah, González-Gordillo J. Ignacio, Montero Enrique, Arroyo Gonzalo M., Hanke Georg, Salvo Vanessa S., Basurko Oihane C., Mallos Nicholas, Lebreton Laurent, Echevarría Fidel, Van Emmerik Tim, Duarte Carlos M., Gálvez José A., Van Sebille Erik, Galgani Francois, García Carlos M, Ross Peter S., Bartual Ana, Ioakeimidis Christos, Markalain Gorka, Isobe Atsuhiko, Cózar Andrés (2021). An inshore–offshore sorting system revealed from global classification of ocean litter. Nature Sustainability, 4(6), 484-493. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :