Preliminary Assessment of Plastic Litter and Microplastic Contamination in Freshwater Depositional Areas: The Case Study of Puerto Misahualli, Ecuadorian Amazonia

Abstract

We quantify plastic litter (PL, > 2 cm) and microplastics (MP, < 5 mm) from the sediments of a beach formed at a riverine depositional area, at the upper Amazon River basin, Ecuador. In the collection area (4400 m2), the PL density was 0.045 items m−2, where low-density polyethylene bags were the prevalent PL. The beach was classified as “very clean” (Clean Coast Index (CCI) of 1.3 items m−2). Regarding MP, in 55 sampling stations, average MP concentrations ranged from 0 to 2200 items kg−1 of dry sediment (0.5–2 mm), and 0–4200 items kg−1 of dry sediment (2–5 mm). Blue fibers were the prevalent MP. Our results represent the first report to show the ubiquitous presence of PL and MP for the area. The monitoring and management of plastic disposal in freshwater beaches are necessary, as here we report a small part of an undocumented issue.

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Acknowledgements

This investigation received financial support from the European Union in coordination with the Spanish Cooperation International Agency for Development (AECID), granted to MVC. We are thankful to Ikiam driver Pablo Neris “Don Tito” Paz Andrade of the Universidad Regional Amazónica Ikiam.

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Correspondence to Mariana V. Capparelli.

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Lucas-Solis, O., Moulatlet, G.M., Guamangallo, J. et al. Preliminary Assessment of Plastic Litter and Microplastic Contamination in Freshwater Depositional Areas: The Case Study of Puerto Misahualli, Ecuadorian Amazonia. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-021-03138-2

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Keywords

  • Plastic
  • LDPE
  • Littering and urban solid waste
  • Sewage treatment
  • Tropical rivers