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      Microplastics as contaminants in the marine environment: A review

      , , ,
      Marine Pollution Bulletin
      Elsevier BV

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          Abstract

          Since the mass production of plastics began in the 1940s, microplastic contamination of the marine environment has been a growing problem. Here, a review of the literature has been conducted with the following objectives: (1) to summarise the properties, nomenclature and sources of microplastics; (2) to discuss the routes by which microplastics enter the marine environment; (3) to evaluate the methods by which microplastics are detected in the marine environment; (4) to assess spatial and temporal trends of microplastic abundance; and (5) to discuss the environmental impact of microplastics. Microplastics are both abundant and widespread within the marine environment, found in their highest concentrations along coastlines and within mid-ocean gyres. Ingestion of microplastics has been demonstrated in a range of marine organisms, a process which may facilitate the transfer of chemical additives or hydrophobic waterborne pollutants to biota. We conclude by highlighting key future research areas for scientists and policymakers. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Marine Pollution Bulletin
          Marine Pollution Bulletin
          Elsevier BV
          0025326X
          December 2011
          December 2011
          : 62
          : 12
          : 2588-2597
          Article
          10.1016/j.marpolbul.2011.09.025
          22001295
          292b87e7-6371-4a08-81d4-2e871ebce3e4
          © 2011

          https://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

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