Plastic pollution represents the most widespread threaten throughout the world and, amongst aquatic habitats, freshwaters and in particular riparian zones seems to be highly disturbed. Since the plastic storage and accumulation on the riparian vegetation have not yet been deeply investigated, here, we focussed on the riparian zone's function in trapping plastic litter. To do so, we assessed the occurrence and density of plastics in different vegetated (arboreal, shrubby, herbaceous, reed, bush) and unvegetated types in 8 central Italian rivers, running in different land use contexts. Our results showed that plastic pieces, bags, bottles and food containers were the most abundant specific categories on the vegetated types, demonstrating the riparian vegetation role in trapping plastic litter. Specifically, the highest plastic density was found on the shrubby type suggesting that a tree shape retains plastics more easily than all other vegetated and unvegetated types. Shape and size classification of plastics are not significantly different between vegetated and unvegetated types. These findings allow to collect important information on how the riparian vegetation can be exploited in management activities for removing plastic litters from both freshwater and sea, being the former considered the main plastic source for the latter. This study highlights a further ecosystem service as mechanical filter provided by the riparian zone, even if further studies ought to be performed to understand the role of vegetation as plastic trap and the possible detrimental effects of plastics on the plant health status.

Cesarini, G., & Scalici, M. (2022). Riparian vegetation as a trap for plastic litter. ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION, Volume 292, Part B(118410) [10.1016/j.envpol.2021.118410].

Riparian vegetation as a trap for plastic litter

Giulia Cesarini
;
Massimiliano Scalici
2022

Abstract

Plastic pollution represents the most widespread threaten throughout the world and, amongst aquatic habitats, freshwaters and in particular riparian zones seems to be highly disturbed. Since the plastic storage and accumulation on the riparian vegetation have not yet been deeply investigated, here, we focussed on the riparian zone's function in trapping plastic litter. To do so, we assessed the occurrence and density of plastics in different vegetated (arboreal, shrubby, herbaceous, reed, bush) and unvegetated types in 8 central Italian rivers, running in different land use contexts. Our results showed that plastic pieces, bags, bottles and food containers were the most abundant specific categories on the vegetated types, demonstrating the riparian vegetation role in trapping plastic litter. Specifically, the highest plastic density was found on the shrubby type suggesting that a tree shape retains plastics more easily than all other vegetated and unvegetated types. Shape and size classification of plastics are not significantly different between vegetated and unvegetated types. These findings allow to collect important information on how the riparian vegetation can be exploited in management activities for removing plastic litters from both freshwater and sea, being the former considered the main plastic source for the latter. This study highlights a further ecosystem service as mechanical filter provided by the riparian zone, even if further studies ought to be performed to understand the role of vegetation as plastic trap and the possible detrimental effects of plastics on the plant health status.
Cesarini, G., & Scalici, M. (2022). Riparian vegetation as a trap for plastic litter. ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION, Volume 292, Part B(118410) [10.1016/j.envpol.2021.118410].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11590/398321
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