Toxic bacteria found on microplastics around Singapore’s coastline

Toxic bacteria capable of causing coral bleaching and wound infections in humans have been found on microplastics picked up from the Republic’s coastline between April and July 2018.Marine scientists at the National University of Singapore (NUS) found more than 400 different types of bacteria on 275 pieces of microplastics collected from three beaches – Lazarus Island, Sembawang Beach and Changi Beach.

Straitstimes.com, 11/02/2019

The news

EU proposes ban on 90% of microplastic pollutants

European Chemicals Agency draft law aims to cut 400,000 tonnes of plastic pollution

A wide-ranging ban on microplastics covering about 90% of pollutants has been proposed by the EU in an attempt to cut 400,000 tonnes of plastic pollution in 20 years.

Every year, Europe releases a bulk amount of microplastics six times bigger than the “Great Pacific garbage patch” into the environment – the equivalent of 10bn plastic bottles. The phasing out proposed by the European Chemicals Agency (Echa) would remove 36,000 tonnes a year of “intentionally added” microplastic fibres and fragments, starting in 2020. Cosmetics, detergents, paints, polish and coatings would all require design overhauls, as would products in the construction, agriculture and fossil fuels sectors. The draft law targets microplastics that are not necessary but have been added to products by manufacturers for convenience or profit.

The Guardian, 30/01/2019

The news

Ingestion of plastic fragments by the Guri sea catfish Genidens genidens (Cuvier, 1829) in a subtropical coastal estuarine system

One of the most recognized anthropogenic impacts in marine environments is solid waste pollution, especially plastic, which can be ingested by fish, thus interfering with their health. In this context, the aim of this study is to describe the ingestion of plastic fragments and to identify the possible effect of this contamination in the condition factor of Genidens genidens in the Laguna Estuarine System. The stomach contents of 92 G. genidens (26 juveniles and 66 adults) were analyzed. The Index of Relative Importance was performed to identify the contribution of each prey item. Condition factor (CF) was used to analyze the effect of plastic ingestion on the fish’s body condition (by comparing individuals in the same ontogenetic phase). For the juveniles, eight items were observed, the most important of which were Penaeidae, followed by Portunidae and plastic. For the adults, 12 items were observed, the most important of which were Penaeidae, Portunidae, Polychaeta, and plastic. The analysis of CF demonstrated higher values for individuals without plastic in the stomach, which indicated a better health condition. The CF of a fish may be affected by variations in the physiological condition, environmental stresses, and nutritional and biological variations, and could be used to compare the body condition or health of a fish species. The ingestion of plastic could significantly influence the worst body condition of the individuals that were analyzed in the present study. The plastic pollution in marine coastal waters is associated with the appropriate waste management levels.

David V. Dantas, Cristian I. R. Ribeiro, Catarina de C. A. Frischknecht, Rodrigo Machado, Eduardo G. G. Farias, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, pp 1–8, 2019

The article

Coastal scenery and litter impacts at Alicante (SE Spain): management issues

Coastal scenery value was evaluated at 56 locations along the 244 km long coast of Alicante (western Mediterranean) according to the methodology of Ergin et al. Area 36(4):367–386, (2004) based on the evaluation of 26 physical and anthropogenic parameters. Selected areas covered remote (10), rural (9), village (15) and urban (22) bathing areas. The scenery Decision Value parameter (D), allowed to classify the investigated sites into 5 classes, from Class I (extremely attractive/natural sites) to Class V (very unattractive/urbanized sites): 2 sites belonged to Class I, 6 to Class II, 14 to Class III, 20 to Class IV and 14 to Class V. Litter presence was assessed at the same sites using the EA/NALG (2000) methodology, which allowed to classify each site in four grades: A: very good (40 sites); B: good (14); C: fair (1) and D: poor (1). In urban sites litter was composed by small items related to land-based sources and beach use while litter in natural sites was related to marine-based sources, essentially fishing. The sector analysis methodology highlighted as most sites (33 out of 56) showed contradictory characteristics for litter/scenic grades/beach awards presence. To improve scenic value, different actions have to be carried out according to the site typology. At many urban sites, actuations should be focused to the removing or reducing of beach utilities and unnecessary infrastructures. At rural and remote areas, is mandatory to carry out specific litter management plans to reduce litter presence.

F. Asensio-Montesinos, G. Anfuso, H. Corbí, Journal of Coastal Conservation, , Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 185–201

The article

Do Microplastics in the Ocean Affect Scallops ? A conversation with WHOI scientist Scott Gallager

WHOI scientist Scott Gallager is making field observations and conducting lab experiments to explore the possible effects of microplastics in the ocean on marine organisms. Specifically, he’s looking at sea scallops at different life stages to determine if the tiny plastic fragments they ingest when filtering seawater stunt their growth. The work is part of WHOI’s Marine Microplastics Initiative, which is aimed at understanding the fate of “hidden” microplastics in the ocean and their impacts on marine life and human health.  (whoi.edu, Oceanus Magazine, 24/01/2019)

The article

Presence of microplastics in the stomachs of Carcinus aestuarii Nardo, 1857 in Çardak Lagoon, Çanakkale Strait, Turkey

This paper reports the presence of microplastic in the stomachs of the Mediterranean green crab, Carcinus aestuarii Nardo, 1857. The crabs were collected from six sites chosen in the Çardak Lagoon (Çanakkale Strait). Plastic fibers were observed in the stomach contents of three male individuals. Since C. aestuarii is an important food for fish and birds in estuarine and lagoon areas, microplastics can go up to the trophic levels by entering the food chain.

, Cah. Biol. Mar. (2018) 59 : 493 – 496

The article

Fishing lines and fish hooks as neglected marine litter: first data on chemical composition, densities, and biological entrapment from a Mediterranean beach

We reported first data on the densities and chemical composition of fishing lines and fish hooks deposited on a Mediterranean beach. On a sampling area of 1.5 ha, we removed a total of 185,028 cm of fishing lines (density 12.34 cm/m2) and 33 hooks (density 22 units/ha). Totally, 637.62 g (42.5 mg/m2) of fishing lines were collected. We sampled 120 items entangled belongings to 7 animal taxa (density 6.49 items/100 m of fishing lines). We also observed a not quantifiable number of egagropiles (Posidonia oceanica spheroids), Rhodophyceae (Halymenia sp.) and segments of reeds of Phragmites communis, trapped in the fishing lines. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was used in order to identify the chemical composition of the fishing lines: 92% was made of nylon while 8.0% was determined as fluorocarbon based polymers (polyvinylidene fluoride). Because of their subtlety and reduced size, sandy beach cleaning operations should include at least two consecutive removal samplings: indeed, a part of this litter (12.14%) is not removed in the first sampling. The unexpected high density of fishing lines suggests specific management actions aimed to periodically remove this neglected anthropogenic litter.

Corrado Battisti, Silvio Kroha, Elina Kozhuharova, Silvia De Michelis, Giuliano Fanelli, Gianluca Poeta, Loris Pietrelli, Fulvio Cerfolli, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, , Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 1000–1007

The article