Contamination of beach sediments of a subalpine lake with microplastic particles

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Abstract

Plastic waste is of increasing concern in marine ecosystems [1-3]. Buoyant plastic particles accumulate in pelagic habitats whereas non-floating debris accumulates on the seafloor and in beach sediments, posing risk to the respective communities [1-4]. Microplastic particles (<5 mm) are either directly introduced via sewage discharge or formed by biofouling and mechanical abrasion, making them more prone to consumption by aquatic organisms [2,3]. As a consequence, they can accumulate in higher trophic levels [3-5]. A variety of harmful effects of plastic and associated chemicals has been shown [2-4]. Moreover, plastic debris can act as vector for alien species and diseases [2,6]. A large portion of the plastic waste is produced onshore and reaches the marine environment, which is considered the main sink of plastic debris. There is, however, a considerable lack of knowledge on the contamination of freshwater ecosystems with plastic debris. We here show that freshwater ecosystems also act, at least temporarily, as a sink for plastic particles. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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Imhof, H. K., Ivleva, N. P., Schmid, J., Niessner, R., & Laforsch, C. (2013, October 7). Contamination of beach sediments of a subalpine lake with microplastic particles. Current Biology. Cell Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2013.09.001

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