The release of plastics in freshwater is an increasing concern for ecosystem safety worldwide. There is a large knowledge gap on plastic pollution in Mediterranean freshwater, especially regarding surveys along entire river courses, partly due to the absence of guidelines for standardized monitoring of plastics. The present study analyzes the plastic distribution from source to mouth, also according to the River Continuum Concept, of the environmental matrices (water and sediments) and biota (caddisfly cases) of the Mediterranean River Mignone and their cause-effect relationship. The results of the water quality indices (Extended Biotic Index and Fluvial Functionality Index) were compared with the plastic concentrations observed in the water and sediments to explore what relationship there might be and to understand if the indices could be a proxy of the plastic pollution. Our results showed a significant prevalence of blue fibers, the concentration of which in water and sediment is positively associated. Plastic concentration at each site was not accurately detected by the water quality indices. These results may suggest that the factors considered by water quality indices are not able to detect the contamination of plastic pollution. It is mandatory to identify new tools for assessing the plastic impacts on river ecosystems.

Transport and deposition of microplastics and mesoplastics along the river course: A case study of a small river in central Italy

Sighicelli M.;Lecce F.;Menegoni P.;
2020

Abstract

The release of plastics in freshwater is an increasing concern for ecosystem safety worldwide. There is a large knowledge gap on plastic pollution in Mediterranean freshwater, especially regarding surveys along entire river courses, partly due to the absence of guidelines for standardized monitoring of plastics. The present study analyzes the plastic distribution from source to mouth, also according to the River Continuum Concept, of the environmental matrices (water and sediments) and biota (caddisfly cases) of the Mediterranean River Mignone and their cause-effect relationship. The results of the water quality indices (Extended Biotic Index and Fluvial Functionality Index) were compared with the plastic concentrations observed in the water and sediments to explore what relationship there might be and to understand if the indices could be a proxy of the plastic pollution. Our results showed a significant prevalence of blue fibers, the concentration of which in water and sediment is positively associated. Plastic concentration at each site was not accurately detected by the water quality indices. These results may suggest that the factors considered by water quality indices are not able to detect the contamination of plastic pollution. It is mandatory to identify new tools for assessing the plastic impacts on river ecosystems.
Fluvial Functionality Index
Case construction
Extended Biotic Index
Freshwater
Grain size analysis
Macroinvertebrates
Mediterranean rivers
Mesoplastic
Microplastic
Monitoring
Plastic
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12079/56168
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