We collected plastic debris in the Stockholm Archipelago using a manta trawl, and additionally along a transect in the Baltic Sea from the island of Gotland to Stockholm in a citizen science study. The samples were concentrated by filtration and organic material was digested using hydrogen peroxide. Suspected plastic material was isolated by visual sorting and 59 of these were selected to be characterized with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Polypropylene and polyethylene were the most abundant plastics identified among the samples (53% and 24% respectively). We found nearly ten times higher abundance of plastics near central Stockholm than in offshore areas (4.2 × 105 plastics km−2 compared to 4.7 × 104 plastics km−2). The abundance of plastic debris near Stockholm was similar to urban areas in California, USA, and the overall abundance in the Stockholm Archipelago was similar to plastic abundance reported in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea.
Berit Gewert, Martin Ogonowski, Andreas Barth, Matthew MacLeod, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 18 May 2017, In Press