Microplastics pollution after the removal of the Costa Concordia wreck: First evidences from a biomonitoring case study

Microplastics (MPs) represent a matter of growing concern for the marine environment. Their ingestion has been documented in several species worldwide, but the impact of specific anthropogenic activities remains largely unexplored. In this study, MPs were characterized in different benthic fish sampled after 2.5 years of huge engineering operations for the parbuckling project on the Costa Concordia wreck at Giglio Island. Fish collected in proximity of the wreck showed a high ingestion of microplastics compared to both fish from a control area and values reported worldwide. Also the elevated percentage of nylon, polypropylene lines and the presence of polystyrene are quite unusual for marine organisms sampled in natural field conditions, thus supporting the possible relationship of ingested microplastics with maritime operations during wreck removal. On the other hand, the use of transplanted mussels revealed a lower frequency of ingested MPs, and did not discriminate differences between the wreck and the control area. Some variations were observed in terms of typology and size of particles between surface- and bottom-caged mussels highlighting the influence of a different distribution of MPs along the water column. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that MPs pollution in the area of Costa Concordia was more evident on benthonic environment than on seawater column, providing novel insights on the possibility of using appropriate sentinel organisms for monitoring specific anthropogenic sources of MPs pollution in the marine environment.

Carlo Giacomo Avio, Lara Roberta Cardelli, Stefania Gorbi and al., Environmental Pollution, Volume 227, August 2017,  Pages 207–214

The article

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