Plastic sources: A survey across scientific and grey literature for their inventory and relative contribution to microplastics pollution in natural environments, with an emphasis on surface water
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionScience of the Total Environment. 2019, 693, 1718448. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.07.305
Plastic debris are at present recognized as an emerging potential threat for natural environments, wildlife and humans. In the past years an increasing attention has been addressed to investigate the presence and concentration of plastic debris in the ecosystems, including surface waters. Scientific literature extensively describes the ingestion by aquatic fauna, the transfer into food webs and the potential action as a vector for toxic compounds or alien microorganisms. Although the scientific community addresses this issue with considerable effort, many questions remain open. In particular, new sources of microplastics have been recently recognized, possibly representing major environmental inputs compared to those previously considered. In addition to the already renowned sources such as the embrittlement of plastic litter and microbeads released from personal care products, microplastic can be released also by washing of synthetic clothes, abrasion of vehicles tyres and from the weathering of different kind of paints. This review tries to exhaustively enumerate all the possible sources of plastic litter that have been identified so far and to report quantitative assessments of their inputs on microplastics pollution to natural environments reported in scientific and grey literature, with an emphasis on surface waters.
Embargo until 22 July 2019