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Progress Towards Monitoring of Microlitter in Scandinavian Marine Environments

State of Knowledge and Challenges

image of Progress Towards Monitoring of Microlitter in Scandinavian Marine Environments

Microlitter consists of minute particles of anthropogenic or processed natural material. The project brings together research groups to conduct specific case studies in gradients from near urban sources such as the traffic environment and cities to the coastal water and sediments in order to study the relative occurrence of specific sources and their environmental dispersion and distribution. The conclusion were first that in sediments from the road environment (tunnel runoff water), tire particles, asphalt and road markings could be identified, and in the urban creek sediments many black particles including elastomers, charcoal-like and oil and soot where in high abundance and decreased rapidly out in the recipient. The results emphasize the role of the cities as hotspot source functions for microlitter in the coastal environment and also where mitigating measures could be directed.

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Summary

Four different case studies were carried out to determine dominating microlitter types from urban environments to the regional Scandinavian seas (eastern North Sea). The sampling was both from sediment near sources (urban runoff and road dust sediment), and further out from coastal sediments. The sea surface layer and subsurface samples was taken in two different gradients, in the Oslo and Roskilde fjords, where also blue mussels were sampled. Best available technologies for sampling each compartment was used and evaluated, and while the water samples was analysed as collected, the sediment and biota samples needed some pretreatment of chemical digestion and/or heavy density liquid floatation or elutriation. In order to develop visual identification as objective as possible, a visual and physical observation scheme was proposed. The visual identification scheme should be complemented with spectroscopic identification to different degrees depending on the size fractions.

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