Fluxes of Plastic Debris to a choked coastal lagoon: a top-down approach based on socio-economic data from south Brazil

, Santos Itele E. Dos, Fernandes Elisa H., Pinho Grasiela L. L., Abdallah Patrízia R..

Plastic production has increased exponentially worldwide and therefore, the amount of mismanaged plastic that ends up in the marine environment also increased. To better understand how this pollutant reaches marine ecosystems, it is important to study its sources, pathways and ultimately estimate the amounts of plastics reaching the environment. However, this could be a difficult task to achieve. In order to estimate fluxes of plastic debris in coastal environments, two research lines co-exist, one based on modeling inputs and one based on field measurements. In this study, the amount of plastics reaching Patos Lagoon, was estimated based on modeling the inputs of plastic fluxes using data of national production, consumption, and waste management, between the years of 2010 to 2017. The main types of plastic resins being produced in the Lagoon's area were identified as Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). The amount of plastic waste in the Lagoon basin was in the range of 144.76 Kton to 261.29 Kton per year. The main source of plastic pollution identified was textiles/clothing and food-related activities. Using well-known percentages of waste conversion to marine debris, it was estimated that the amount of plastic debris entering Patos Lagoon ranges from 21.67 Kton to 108.76 Kton per year. This means that each person living inside the lagoon basin, would be producing from 6.54 grams/person/day to 32.82 grams/person/day of plastic debris. Furthermore, results presented in this study are comparable to the per capita amount of plastic debris produced worldwide, which placed Patos Lagoon in 16º (10º) when considering the minimum (maximum) amount reported, surpassing countries like the United States, India, Australia and others.

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