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Open AccessArticle

Sea Water Contamination in the Vicinity of the Italian Minor Islands Caused by Microplastic Pollution

Institute for Coastal Marine Environment of Italian Research Council (IAMC-CNR), 09170 Oristano, Italy
Section of Water and Environment, Department of Civil Engineering, Aalborg University, Thomas Manns Vej 23, 9220 Aalborg Øst, Denmark
ISPRA, Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, 00144 Roma, Italy
Department of Ecology and Biology, University of Tuscia, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
LEGAMBIENTE, 00100 Roma, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(8), 1108;
Received: 15 May 2018 / Revised: 14 August 2018 / Accepted: 15 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
The abundance and distribution of microplastics (MP) were evaluated in six “clean” sites (Italian minor islands) and in two “polluted” areas (near the mouth of two major Italian rivers). Samples of MP, plankton and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were collected using a manta trawl (MA) and a plankton net (WP2), both lined with a 333 µm mesh net. MP have been confirmed to be ubiquitous since they were found at each site, showing an average density of 0.3 ± 0.04 items/m3 (values ranged from 0.641 to 0.119 ). When comparing the clean sites with the polluted ones, a significantly higher value of MP was found near the river mouths. The most common types of MP were synthetic filaments (50.24%), followed by fragments (30.39%), thin plastic films (16.98%) and spheres (2.39%). Infrared spectroscopy analysis highlighted that the most abundant polymers were polyethylene (PE-26%), polypropylene (PP-11%), polyethylene-terephthalate/polyester (PET/PEST-8%) and ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA-5%). Polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides were detected in all the samples with a high variability among sites and depths. This study adds to the existing information on the distribution of contaminants across the Mediterranean Sea, and is useful to policy makers who wish to implement effective measures to reduce MP pollution. View Full-Text
Keywords: microplastic; Mediterranean; polymers; POPs; manta trawl; plankton net microplastic; Mediterranean; polymers; POPs; manta trawl; plankton net
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De Lucia, G.A.; Vianello, A.; Camedda, A.; Vani, D.; Tomassetti, P.; Coppa, S.; Palazzo, L.; Amici, M.; Romanelli, G.; Zampetti, G.; Cicero, A.M.; Carpentieri, S.; Di Vito, S.; Matiddi, M. Sea Water Contamination in the Vicinity of the Italian Minor Islands Caused by Microplastic Pollution. Water 2018, 10, 1108.

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