Abundance, composition, and distribution of macro-litter found on the seafloor of the Strait of Sicily between 10 and 800 m depth has been studied using data collected by bottom trawl surveys MEDITS from 2015 to 2019. Three waste categories based on the items use were considered: single-use, fishing-related and generic-use. Over 600 sampling sites, just 14% of these were litter-free. The five-years average density of seafloor litter was 79.6 items/km2 and ranged between 46.8 in 2019 and 118.1 items/km2 in 2015. The predominant waste type was plastic (58% of all items). Regardless of material type, single-use items were a dominant (60% of items) and widespread (79% of hauls) fraction of litter with a mean density of 48.4 items/km2. Fishing-related items accounted for 12% of total litter items. Percentage of dirty hauls and litter density increased with depth. Analysis of the relation density-depth indicates a progressive increase of litter density beyond depth values situated within the interval 234–477 m depending on the litter category. A significant decrease in litter density by categories was observed over the period. Patterns of spatial distribution at the higher depths (200–80 0m) resulted stable over the years. Density hotspots of fishing-related items were found where the fishing activity that uses fish aggregating devices (FADs) is practised and in the proximity of rocky banks. Single-use and generic-use objects densities were greater on the seafloor along main maritime routes than other areas. Comparisons between the percentage of hauls littered with anthropic waste from the mid-1990s against those in 2018–19 highlighted an increase of about 10.8% and 15.3% for single-use items and fishing-related items respectively, and a decrease of 18.6% for generic-use items. This study provides a snapshot of the current situation of littering in the central Mediterranean Sea and represents a solid baseline against which the effectiveness of current and future mitigation strategies of the litter impact on marine environment can be measured.

Garofalo G., Quattrocchi F., Bono G., Di Lorenzo M., Di Maio F., Falsone F., et al. (2020). What is in our seas? Assessing anthropogenic litter on the seafloor of the central Mediterranean Sea. ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION, 266(Pt 1), 115213 [10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115213].

What is in our seas? Assessing anthropogenic litter on the seafloor of the central Mediterranean Sea

Quattrocchi F.
;
2020-11-01

Abstract

Abundance, composition, and distribution of macro-litter found on the seafloor of the Strait of Sicily between 10 and 800 m depth has been studied using data collected by bottom trawl surveys MEDITS from 2015 to 2019. Three waste categories based on the items use were considered: single-use, fishing-related and generic-use. Over 600 sampling sites, just 14% of these were litter-free. The five-years average density of seafloor litter was 79.6 items/km2 and ranged between 46.8 in 2019 and 118.1 items/km2 in 2015. The predominant waste type was plastic (58% of all items). Regardless of material type, single-use items were a dominant (60% of items) and widespread (79% of hauls) fraction of litter with a mean density of 48.4 items/km2. Fishing-related items accounted for 12% of total litter items. Percentage of dirty hauls and litter density increased with depth. Analysis of the relation density-depth indicates a progressive increase of litter density beyond depth values situated within the interval 234–477 m depending on the litter category. A significant decrease in litter density by categories was observed over the period. Patterns of spatial distribution at the higher depths (200–80 0m) resulted stable over the years. Density hotspots of fishing-related items were found where the fishing activity that uses fish aggregating devices (FADs) is practised and in the proximity of rocky banks. Single-use and generic-use objects densities were greater on the seafloor along main maritime routes than other areas. Comparisons between the percentage of hauls littered with anthropic waste from the mid-1990s against those in 2018–19 highlighted an increase of about 10.8% and 15.3% for single-use items and fishing-related items respectively, and a decrease of 18.6% for generic-use items. This study provides a snapshot of the current situation of littering in the central Mediterranean Sea and represents a solid baseline against which the effectiveness of current and future mitigation strategies of the litter impact on marine environment can be measured.
nov-2020
Garofalo G., Quattrocchi F., Bono G., Di Lorenzo M., Di Maio F., Falsone F., et al. (2020). What is in our seas? Assessing anthropogenic litter on the seafloor of the central Mediterranean Sea. ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION, 266(Pt 1), 115213 [10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115213].
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Manuscript_ENVPOL_2020_3709.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Pre-print
Dimensione 276.02 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
276.02 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/583911
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 0
  • Scopus 26
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 22
social impact