Arenas blancas beach (el hierro, canary islands, spain): A new hot spot of microplastic debris?

, Hernández-Sánchez Cintia, González-Sálamo Javier, Villanova-Solano Cristina, Ben-Charki El-Mousati Naoual, Sevillano González Marta, Hernández-Borges Javier.

El Hierro is the southern and westernmost of the Canary Islands (Spain). With a population under 11,000 inhabitants during 2019 [1] and with the absence of industries, it is the first of the islands to cover more than half of its energetical needs through renewable energy. However, all these relevant issues do not make the island immune to the microplastic problem. In the Canary Islands, the presence of microplastics has already been studied in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and La Graciosa since 2014 [2–4]; however, until now there are no studies of the arrival of plastic litter to the most occidental islands of La Palma, La Gomera or El Hierro. The present work has studied the incidence and type of microplastics (1-5 mm) and mesoplastics (5-25 mm) that have reached Arenas Blancas beach, located in the northwest coast of El Hierro island (with northeast orientation), from October 2019 to March 2020 (10 sampling dates with 3 sampling points each). The amount of microplastic debris that arrive to the beach is comparable to those of the most contaminated of the archipelago. Moreover, the abundance of pellets found repeatedly during the samplings shows that this contamination does not come from the island or those nearby as a result of the lack of this type of industry. References 1 Instituto Canario de Estadística, Estadísticas de la Comunidad Autónoma de Canarias,, (accessed 10 Sep 2020). 2 A. Herrera, M. Asensio, I. Martínez, A. Santana, T. Packard and M. Gómez, Mar. Pollut. Bull., 2018, 129, 494–502. 3 C. Álvarez-Hernández, C. Cairós, J. López-Darias, E. Mazzetti, C. Hernández-Sánchez, J. González-Sálamo and J. Hernández-Borges, Mar. Pollut. Bull., 2019, 146, 26–32.

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