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Free C.M.,Rutgers University | Jensen O.P.,Rutgers University | Mason S.A.,York College | Eriksen M.,5 GyResearch Institute | And 2 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2014

Despite the large and growing literature on microplastics in the ocean, little information exists on microplastics in freshwater systems. This study is the first to evaluate the abundance, distribution, and composition of pelagic microplastic pollution in a large, remote, mountain lake. We quantified pelagic microplastics and shoreline anthropogenic debris in Lake Hovsgol, Mongolia. With an average microplastic density of 20,264 particles km-2, Lake Hovsgol is more heavily polluted with microplastics than the more developed Lakes Huron and Superior in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Fragments and films were the most abundant microplastic types; no plastic microbeads and few pellets were observed. Household plastics dominated the shoreline debris and were comprised largely of plastic bottles, fishing gear, and bags. Microplastic density decreased with distance from the southwestern shore, the most populated and accessible section of the park, and was distributed by the prevailing winds. These results demonstrate that without proper waste management, low-density populations can heavily pollute freshwater systems with consumer plastics. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Rochman C.M.,University of California at Davis | Lewison R.L.,San Diego State University | Eriksen M.,5 GyResearch Institute | Allen H.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | And 2 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2014

The accumulation of plastic debris in pelagic habitats of the subtropical gyres is a global phenomenon of growing concern, particularly with regard to wildlife. When animals ingest plastic debris that is associated with chemical contaminants, they are at risk of bioaccumulating hazardous pollutants. We examined the relationship between the bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in myctophid fish associated with plastic debris and plastic contamination in remote and previously unmonitored pelagic habitats in the South Atlantic Ocean. Using a published model, we defined three sampling zones where accumulated densities of plastic debris were predicted to differ. Contrary to model predictions, we found variable levels of plastic debris density across all stations within the sampling zones. Mesopelagic lanternfishes, sampled from each station and analyzed for bisphenol A (BPA), alkylphenols, alkylphenol ethoxylates, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), exhibited variability in contaminant levels, but this variability was not related to plastic debris density for most of the targeted compounds with the exception of PBDEs. We found that myctophid sampled at stations with greater plastic densities did have significantly larger concentrations of BDE#s 183 -209 in their tissues suggesting that higher brominated congeners of PBDEs, added to plastics as flame-retardants, are indicative of plastic contamination in the marine environment. Our results provide data on a previously unsampled pelagic gyre and highlight the challenges associated with characterizing plastic debris accumulation and associated risks to wildlife. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Vegter A.C.,James Cook University | Barletta M.,Federal University of Pernambuco | Beck C.,U.S. Geological Survey | Borrero J.,ECoast Marine Consulting and Research | And 24 more authors.
Endangered Species Research | Year: 2014

Marine wildlife faces a growing number of threats across the globe, and the survival of many species and populations will be dependent on conservation action. One threat in particular that has emerged over the last 4 decades is the pollution of oceanic and coastal habitats with plastic debris. The increased occurrence of plastics in marine ecosystems mirrors the increased prevalence of plastics in society, and reflects the high durability and persistence of plastics in the environment. In an effort to guide future research and assist mitigation approaches to marine conservation, we have generated a list of 16 priority research questions based on the expert opinions of 26 researchers from around the world, whose research expertise spans several disciplines, and covers each of the world's oceans and the taxa most at risk from plastic pollution. This paper highlights a growing concern related to threats posed to marine wildlife from microplastics and fragmented debris, the need for data at scales relevant to management, and the urgent need to develop interdisciplinary research and management partnerships to limit the release of plastics into the environment and curb the future impacts of plastic pollution. © Inter-Research 2014.

Eriksen M.,5 GyResearch Institute | Maximenko N.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Thiel M.,Catolica del Norte University | Cummins A.,5 GyResearch Institute | And 5 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2013

Plastic marine pollution in the open ocean of the southern hemisphere is largely undocumented. Here, we report the result of a (4489km) 2424 nautical mile transect through the South Pacific subtropical gyre, carried out in March-April 2011. Neuston samples were collected at 48 sites, averaging 50 nautical miles apart, using a manta trawl lined with a 333μm mesh. The transect bisected a predicted accumulation zone associated with the convergence of surface currents, driven by local winds. The results show an increase in surface abundance of plastic pollution as we neared the center and decrease as we moved away, verifying the presence of a garbage patch. The average abundance and mass was 26,898particles km-2 and 70.96gkm-2, respectively. 88.8% of the plastic pollution was found in the middle third of the samples with the highest value of 396,342particles km-2 occurring near the center of the predicted accumulation zone. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Cannon C.L.,Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation | Thomas S.,Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation | Treffers R.D.,Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation | Paschall M.J.,Prevention Research Center | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law | Year: 2013

Municipal mixed-use zoning (MUZ) is one public health strategy to create more walkable neighborhoods by reducing the separation of daily activities. This study uses a novel data-gathering methodology to evaluate municipal zoning ordinances in twenty-two California cities in conjunction with the walkability potential of resulting mixed-use zones, to explore the extent to which variations in uses mandated by MUZ ordinances are correlated with variations in walking opportunities. We find that, after controlling for population, socioeconomic status, and zone size, significant relationships exist between the range and precision of uses mandated by MUZ ordinances and the mixture and breadth ofwalking destinations in these zones. The study also demonstrates that analysis of municipal zoning codes and a novel data-gathering methodology yield valid data. The analysis of MUZ ordinances is a significant complement to other approaches to measuring walkability and can be used across cities. © 2013 by Duke University Press.

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