POPs monitoring in Australia and New Zealand using plastic resin pellets, and International Pellet Watch as a tool for education and raising public awareness on plastic debris and POPs

Persistent organic pollutants (i.e. PCBs, DDTs, and HCHs) were analyzed along Australia and New Zealand North Island coastlines. PCB concentrations were high in urban areas (107–294 ng/g-pellet), with Sydney Harbour the most polluted. Hepta-chlorinated PCB was abundant, with ~ 30% in urban areas suggesting legacy pollution. DDT concentrations showed similar pattern except in rural agricultural sites, Taupo Bay and Ahipara, New Zealand (23 and 47 ng/g-pellet). p,p′-DDE predominance at these 2 sites suggested historical input; they also had high HCH concentrations (17 and 29 ng/g-pellet). The role of International Pellet Watch (IPW) in science communication was studied through feedbacks from IPW volunteers, case studies and examples. IPW data were categorized into understandable terms and tailored reports based on volunteers’ backgrounds complemented with pollution maps. The effectiveness of IPW science communication has led to its use in awareness and education activities focusing on both POPs and plastic debris issues.

Bee Geok Yeo, Hideshige Takada, Heidi Taylor, Maki Ito, Junki Hosoda, Mayumi Allinson, Sharnie Connell, Laura Greaves, John McGrath, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 101, Issue 1, Pages 137–145, 15 December 2015

The article

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