Microplastics in the pelagic environment around oceanic islands of the Western Tropical Atlantic Ocean

Recent evidence suggests that microplastic pollution is widespread in every oceanic basin; however, there is limited data available for the tropical South Atlantic Ocean. The purpose of this study was to examine the distribution, density and characteristics of plastic particles in plankton samples collected in the western tropical Atlantic Ocean. Neustonic tows (N = 160) were conducted near three important insular environments (Fernando de Noronha, Abrolhos and Trindade), and the presence of microplastics in the ocean surface of these areas was confirmed for the first time. The collected microplastic particles included hard plastic fragments, plastic films, paint chips and fibres and strands, which were classified as a secondary source of microplastics. The stock of plastic originates from both land-based and marine-based sources. This type of marine pollution in the tropical Atlantic Ocean is a potential threat to important ecological species.

Juliana A. Ivar do Sul, Monica F. Costa, Gilberto Fillmann, Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 225:2004, June 2014

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