On the harmonization of microplastic pollution levels in the Mediterranean Sea. A Meta-analysis.

, Simon-Sánchez Laura, Grelaud Michaël, Ziveri Patrizia.

The enclosed Mediterranean Sea is considered as one of the greatest accumulation area for plastic pollution. Still, the disparities in the different methodologies used by researchers for sampling, extracting and identifying microplastics have set a barrier for intercomparison of this pollution across the basin. This systematic review aims to present a harmonized database on the occurrence of these pollutants within different abiotic compartments of the Mediterranean Sea, analyzing the different, but similar, methodologies used to quantify their presence. The compiled data also includes the type of particles, polymer, size, potential sources and factors affecting their distribution. The results of this analysis provide an opportunity to interpret the observed discrepancies of microplastic concentrations reported in the Mediterranean Sea. While the analysis of the chemical and morphological characteristics of the particles reported for each environmental matrix (water column, seabed and beaches) sheds light on the transfer and accumulation patterns of these pollutants in the study region. Moreover, we identified a pressing need for international collaboration between Mediterranean countries, especially with North African countries, to provide a full picture of the microplastic pollution status in this basin.

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