Estimating a regional budget of marine plastic litter in order to advise on marine management measures

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Abstract

Using simple models, coupled with parameters extracted from published studies, the annual inputs of macro and micro plastics to the Scottish Atlantic Coast and the Scottish North Sea Coast regions are estimated. Two estimates of land-based sources are used, scaled by catchment area population size. The oceanic supply of floating plastic is estimated for wind-driven and general circulation sources. Minimum, typical and maximum values are computed to examine the magnitude of uncertainties. Direct inputs from fishing and the flux of macroplastic onto the seabed are also included. The modelled estimates reveal the importance of local litter sources to Scottish coastal regions, and hence local management actions can be effective. Estimates provide a scale against which removal efforts may be compared, and provide input data for future more complex modelling. Recommendations for research to improve the preliminary estimates are provided. Methods presented here may be useful elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110725
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume150
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Marine litter
  • Marine management
  • Marine plastics
  • Northeast Atlantic
  • Plastics budget
  • Pollution

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