Microplastic contamination widespread throughout Dutch marine and freshwater systems

1 May 2017

Plastic pollution is found at significant concentrations in Dutch rivers and other freshwater systems. These findings are described in a publication by Amsterdam Water Science-researchers from the Environment and Health department at VU Amsterdam, in collaboration with Deltares.

The diverse dataset shows that plastic pollution is found at significant concentrations in major Dutch rivers, treated wastewater effluents, Amsterdam canals, several coastal marine species, as well as in estuarine and marine sediments off the Dutch coast.

Main conclusions

The main conclusions of the paper are that treated municipal wastewater and biosolids are important sources of microplastic contamination and riverine suspended particulate matter is rich in microplastic. Microplastic concentrations detected in canal water and treated wastewater are similar. Filter feeders and other benthos accumulate microplastics in their bodies. Estuarine sediments are highly contaminated with microplastic.

Key aspect

The environmental monitoring of plastic concentrations is a key aspect in the process of pollution mitigation, and this study provides the best baseline available to date for microplastic pollution in the Netherlands.

Contact AWS researcher Heather Leslie: heather.leslie@vu.nl


Source: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Published by  IBED Water