Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in plastic products, indoor dust, sediment and fish from informal e-waste recycling sites in Vietnam: a comprehensive assessment of contamination, accumulation pattern, emissions, and human exposure

Residue concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in different kinds of samples including consumer products, indoor dust, sediment and fish collected from two e-waste recycling sites, and some industrial, urban and suburban areas in Vietnam were determined to provide a comprehensive assessment of the contamination levels, accumulation pattern, emission potential and human exposure through dust ingestion and fish consumption. There was a large variation of PBDE levels in plastic parts of obsolete electronic equipment (from 1730 to 97,300 ng/g), which is a common result observed in consumer plastic products reported elsewhere. PBDE levels in indoor dust samples collected from e-waste recycling sites ranged from 250 to 8740 ng/g, which were markedly higher than those in industrial areas and household offices. Emission rate of PBDEs from plastic parts of disposed electronic equipment to dust was estimated to be in a range from 3.4 × 10−7 to 1.2 × 10−5 (year−1) for total PBDEs and from 2.9 × 10−7 to 7.2 × 10−6 (year−1) for BDE-209. Some fish species collected from ponds in e-waste recycling villages contained elevated levels of PBDEs, especially BDE-209, which were markedly higher than those in fish previously reported. Overall, levels and patterns of PBDE accumulation in different kinds of samples suggest significant emission from e-waste sites and that these areas are potential sources of PBDE contamination. Intakes of PBDEs via fish consumption were generally higher than those estimated through dust ingestion. Intake of BDE-99 and BDE-209 through dust ingestion contributes a large proportion due to higher concentrations in dust and fish. Body weight normalized daily intake through dust ingestion estimated for the e-waste recycling sites (0.10–3.46 ng/day/kg body wt.) were in a high range as compared to those reported in other countries. Our results highlight the potential releases of PBDEs from informal recycling activities and the high degree of human exposure and suggest the need for continuous investigations on environmental pollution and toxic impacts of e-waste-related hazardous chemicals.

Hoang Quoc Anh, Vu Duc Nam, Tran Manh Tri, Nguyen Manh Ha, Nguyen Thuy Ngoc, Pham Thi Ngoc Mai, Duong Hong Anh, Nguyen Hung Minh, Nguyen Anh Tuan, Tu Binh Minh, Environmental Geochemistry and Health, August 2017, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 935–954

The article

Indicators of Marine Pollution in the North Pacific Ocean

The complex nature of ocean pollution underscores the utility in identifying and characterizing a limited number of “indicators” that enables scientists and managers to track trends over space and time. This paper introduces a special issue on indicators of marine pollution in the North Pacific Ocean and builds on a scientific session that was held at the North Pacific Marine Science Organization. The special issue highlights studies using a variety of indicators to provide insight into the identification of legacy and emerging contaminants, the ranking of priority pollutants from various sources, and the effects of contaminants on ecosystem health in the North Pacific Ocean. Examples include the use of mussels to illustrate spatial and temporal trends of a number of contaminants following the 2011 tsunami in Japan, the use of molecular marker (linear alkylbenzenes, hopanes, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) profiles to identify pollution sources, and the use of plastic resin pellets to illustrate spatial trends of petroleum pollution around the world. Stable isotopes were used to strengthen the utility of the Glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens) as an indicator of marine pollution. Examples also demonstrate the development and application of biomarker approaches, including gene transcripts, oxidative stress, estradiol, hatchability, and respiration and swimming behavior abnormalities, as a function of exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, sulfur-diesel, Pinghu crude oil, galaxolide and antifouling biocides. We provide a brief review of indicators of marine pollution, identify research gaps, and summarize key findings from the articles published within the issue. This special issue represents the first compilation of research pertaining to marine pollution indicators in the North Pacific Ocean and provides guidance to inform mitigation and monitoring efforts of contaminants in the region.

Tanya M. Brown, Hideshige Takada, Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, pp 1–5, 14 July 2017

The article

Survey on awareness and attitudes of secondary school students regarding plastic pollution: implications for environmental education and public health in Sharjah city, UAE

Since the industrial revolution in the 1800s, plastic pollution is becoming a global reality. This study aims to assess knowledge and attitude about plastic pollution among secondary school students in Sharjah city, United Arab Emirates. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 400 students in 6 different secondary schools in Sharjah city. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed through probability stratified random sampling method between February and April 2016. Majority of the population understands how harmful plastic wastes are to the environment (85.5%). However, the students’ mean knowledge score was 53%, with females (P < 0.01), grades 11 and 12 (P = 0.024), and students whose mothers were more educated (P = 0.014) being more knowledgeable and inclined towards pro-environmental behavior. Yet, all students showed tendency to be involved in the fighting against this dilemma. Strategies which address deficiencies, provide incentives for change, and assure governmental support along with environmental education are needed to bridge the information gap and enhance opportunities to adopt pro-environmental behaviors.

Hammami, M.B.A., Mohammed, E.Q., Hashem, A.M. and al., Environ Sci Pollut Res (2017)

The article

Marine Strategy Framework Directive: Innovative and participatory decision-making method for the identification of common measures in the Mediterranean

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is the European Commission’s flagship initiative for the protection of the European Seas, and the first holistic approach to ensuring that European Seas reach and are maintained at what is called a ‘Good Environmental Status’ by the year 2020. Regional cooperation, especially between neighbouring countries, and involvement of all interested parties, are horizontal principles of the MSFD, and particularly apply to the definition of programmes of measures, the principal instrument through which each Member State will implement its marine strategy. This paper presents the results from a dedicated, participatory, structured decision-making process that was implemented within the framework of the ActionMed project, which aimed to bring experts and policy/decision-makers from Mediterranean neighbouring countries together, to discuss and agree upon common measures for implementation in their sub-regions. It shows that a participatory approach, supported by customised, case specific intelligent tools, that follows expertly facilitated, structured workshops can be a successful way to enhance sub-regional collaboration. The paper also presents the top ranking measures, selected by experts and decision-makers for common implementation in two Mediterranean sub-regions.

Xenia I. Loizidou, Michael I. Loizides, Demetra L. Orthodoxou, Marine Policy, Volume 84, October 2017, Pages 82–89

The article

Strandings of NE Atlantic gorgonians

Northeast coral gardens provide vital breeding and feeding habitats for fishes of conservation and commercial importance. Such habitats are increasingly at risk of destruction as a result of over fishing, ocean warming, acidification and marine litter.

A key cause for concern regarding the vulnerability of coral gardens to damage from any source is their slow growth rate, and thereby their ability to recover from damage. Hence protected areas are being put in place, which exclude the use of towed demersal fishing gear.

Citizen scientists observed that gorgonian coral (Pink Sea Fans) skeletons were stranding on beaches entangled in marine debris (sea fangles) across southwest England. Further, SCUBA divers reported that gorgonian corals were being caught up and damaged in lost fishing gear and other marine litter.

To determine the cause of the damage to coral gardens, sea fangles were collected and analysed.

The sea fangles were made up of a diverse range of litter from fishing and domestic sources, however, the majority comprised of fishing gear (P < 0.05).

Marine Protected Areas can protect coral gardens from direct fishing pressure, but risks still remain from ghost fishing pressure, demonstrating the need for sources of litter into the environment to be reduced and existing litter removed.

The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) outlines targets for marine litter by 2020. This study highlights the importance of adhering to the MSFD and/or creating more ambitious regulation if the UK re-write existing legislation following BREXIT.

E.V. Sheehan, A. Rees, D. Bridger, T. Williams, J.M. Hall-Spencer, Biological Conservation, Volume 209, May 2017, Pages 482–487

The article

Transboundary movement of marine litter in an estuarine gradient: Evaluating sources and sinks using hydrodynamic modelling and ground truthing estimates

Marine debris’ transboundary nature and new strategies to identify sources and sinks in coastal areas were investigated along the Paranaguá estuarine gradient (southern Brazil), through integration of hydrodynamic modelling, ground truthing estimates and regressive vector analysis. The simulated release of virtual particles in different parts of the inner estuary suggests a residence time shorter than 5 days before being exported through the estuary mouth (intermediate compartment) to the open ocean. Stranded litter supported this pathway, with beaches in the internal compartment presenting proportionally more items from domestic sources, while fragmented items with unknown sources were proportionally more abundant in the oceanic beaches. Regressive vector analysis reinforced the inner estuarine origin of the stranded litter in both estuarine and oceanic beaches. These results support the applicability of simple hydrodynamic models to address marine debris’ transboundary issues in the land-sea transition zone, thus supporting an ecosystem transboundary (and not territorial) management approach.

Allan Paul Krelling, Mihael Machado Souza, Allan Thomas Williams, Alexander Turra, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 119, Issue 1, 15 June 2017, Pages 48–63

The article

Colour spectrum and resin-type determine the concentration and composition of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in plastic pellets

This study assessed the concentration and composition of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in plastic pellets, collected from sandy beaches and considered different resin and colour tones. Results showed that polyethylene pellets, while displaying a greater range of total PAH concentrations did not differ significantly from polypropylene pellets. More importantly, both resin types demonstrated predictable increases in total PAH across a spectrum of darkening colour tones. Multivariate comparisons of 36 PAH groups, further showed considerable variability across resin type and colour, with lighter coloured pellets comprising lower molecular weight, while darker pellets contained higher weight PAHs. Overall, we show predictable variation in PAH concentrations and compositions of plastic pellets of different ages and resin types that will directly influence the potential for toxicological effects. Our findings suggest that monitoring programs should take these attributes into account when assessing the environmental risks of microplastic contamination of marine and coastal habitats.

Mara Fisner, Alessandra Majer, Satie Taniguchi, Márcia Bícego, Alexander Turra, Daniel Gorman, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 3 July 2017, In Press

The article