Plastic pollution in freshwater systems is a widely recognized global problem with potential environmental risks to water and sediment quality. Furthermore, freshwater plastic pollution is also considered the dominant source of plastic input to the oceans. Despite this, research on plastic pollution has only recently expanded from the marine environment to freshwater systems. Therefore data and knowledge from field studies are still limited in regard to freshwater environments. Sources, quantities, distribution across environmental matrices and ecosystem compartments, and transport mechanisms remain mostly unknown at catchment scale. These knowledge gaps must be addressed to understand the dispersal and eventual fate of plastics in the environment, enabling a better assessment of potential risks as well as development of effective mitigation measures.
In this session, we explore the current state of knowledge and activities on macro-, micro- and nanoplastics in freshwater systems, including aspects such as:
• Plastics in rivers, lakes, urban water systems, floodplains, estuaries, freshwater biota;
• Monitoring and analysis techniques;
• Source to sink investigations, considering quantities and distribution across environmental matrices (water and sediment) and compartments (water surface layer, water column, ice, riverbed, and riverbanks);
• Transport processes of plastics at catchment scale;
• The role of river regulation structures, e.g. dams, navigation, flood control, etc., in plastic retention and transport
• Effects of hydrological extremes, e.g. accumulation of plastics during droughts, and short-term export during floods in the catchment;
• Degradation and fragmentation processes, e.g. from macro- to micro- and nanoplastics;
• Modelling approaches for local and/or global river output estimations;
• Legislative/regulatory efforts, such as monitoring programs and measures against plastic pollution in freshwater systems.
(Contributions with a strong focus on remote sensing of plastics are encouraged to be submitted to the session “Detecting and Monitoring Plastic Pollution in Rivers, Lakes, and Oceans”)
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