Plastics accumulate in the environment affecting biota and ecosystems. Although rivers are vectors of land-based plastics to the sea, macroplastics and microplastics in rivers are recently studied. Most studies focused on floating plastic transport to the sea through rivers considering only abiotic hydromorphological factors. In this view, among biotic factors, vegetation has recently been found to entrap plastics. Indeed, the role of vegetation is pivotal in affecting riverine plastic transport. While marine vegetation blocking plastics has been studied, research in freshwater ecosystems is neglected. Since hydrological factors have a pivotal role in riverine plastic transport and few is known on plant entrapment, the interaction between hydrological variables and plastic entrapment by vegetation has not yet been investigated. Given that the composition, transport, and fate of “submerged” plastics in the water column are neglected, we aimed at investigating the behaviour of plants in entrapping plastics within a specific laboratory flume tank. Specifically, we assessed whether (i) aquatic plants block different plastic sizes within the water column and (ii) different factors (e.g. water level, density of plants) affect plastic entrapment. Our results showed that, according to plant density, the higher the plant density the higher the entrapment of plastics by plants - independently of plastic size. Considering the water level, macro-, meso-, and microplastics were trapped similarly. Moreover, Potamogeton crispus blocked fewer microplastics compared with Myriophyllum spicatum. Our results might have impact as plants acted as temporary plastic trappers and can be used as tools for mitigating plastic pollution. Future research might investigate if this laboratory approach can be applied in field for recollecting plastics and consequently mitigating the problem. In conclusion, good management of plants in watercourses, canals, and rivers should be ideal for enhancing river functionality and ecosystem services for human well-being (i.e. the plastic entrapment service by plants).

Gallitelli, L., Di Lollo, G., Adduce, C., Maggi, M.R., Trombetta, B., Scalici, M. (2023). Aquatic plants entrap different size of plastics in indoor flume experiments. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 863, 161051 [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.161051].

Aquatic plants entrap different size of plastics in indoor flume experiments

Gallitelli L.;Di Lollo G.;Adduce C.;Maggi M. R.;Trombetta B.;Scalici M.
2023-01-01

Abstract

Plastics accumulate in the environment affecting biota and ecosystems. Although rivers are vectors of land-based plastics to the sea, macroplastics and microplastics in rivers are recently studied. Most studies focused on floating plastic transport to the sea through rivers considering only abiotic hydromorphological factors. In this view, among biotic factors, vegetation has recently been found to entrap plastics. Indeed, the role of vegetation is pivotal in affecting riverine plastic transport. While marine vegetation blocking plastics has been studied, research in freshwater ecosystems is neglected. Since hydrological factors have a pivotal role in riverine plastic transport and few is known on plant entrapment, the interaction between hydrological variables and plastic entrapment by vegetation has not yet been investigated. Given that the composition, transport, and fate of “submerged” plastics in the water column are neglected, we aimed at investigating the behaviour of plants in entrapping plastics within a specific laboratory flume tank. Specifically, we assessed whether (i) aquatic plants block different plastic sizes within the water column and (ii) different factors (e.g. water level, density of plants) affect plastic entrapment. Our results showed that, according to plant density, the higher the plant density the higher the entrapment of plastics by plants - independently of plastic size. Considering the water level, macro-, meso-, and microplastics were trapped similarly. Moreover, Potamogeton crispus blocked fewer microplastics compared with Myriophyllum spicatum. Our results might have impact as plants acted as temporary plastic trappers and can be used as tools for mitigating plastic pollution. Future research might investigate if this laboratory approach can be applied in field for recollecting plastics and consequently mitigating the problem. In conclusion, good management of plants in watercourses, canals, and rivers should be ideal for enhancing river functionality and ecosystem services for human well-being (i.e. the plastic entrapment service by plants).
2023
Gallitelli, L., Di Lollo, G., Adduce, C., Maggi, M.R., Trombetta, B., Scalici, M. (2023). Aquatic plants entrap different size of plastics in indoor flume experiments. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 863, 161051 [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.161051].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/434351
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