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Modelling the accumulation and transport of floating marine micro-plastics around South Africa

TitleModelling the accumulation and transport of floating marine micro-plastics around South Africa
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsCollins, C, Hermes, JC
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume139
Pagination46 - 58
ISSN0025-326X
KeywordsAccumulation, Micro-plastic, South Africa, Transport
Abstract

Plastic pollution of South Africa's marine environment is widespread, yet limited research exists on the distribution, accumulation and transport of plastic debris around South Africa. In this paper, numerical modelling is used to provide a first approximation of the pathways and accumulation of marine micro-plastics around South Africa. To account for a range of plastic classes, particles with two different densities are considered. Low-density (LD) particles represent low- and high-density polyethylene while high-density (HD) particles are representative of Polyethylene terephthalate and Polyvinyl chloride. While the majority of micro-plastic particles that enter the ocean from the five major coastal urban-industrialised centers beach along the coastline of South Africa, a third is exported to the open ocean. LD and HD particles are primarily exported to the South Atlantic and South Indian Ocean, respectively. Particles that beach along South Africa's coastline tend to accumulate in close proximity to the coastal urban-industrialised centers.

URLhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X18308798
DOI10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.12.028