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Composition and abundance of benthic marine litter in a coastal area of the central Mediterranean Sea

Consoli, Pierpaolo, Falautano, Manuela, Sinopoli, Mauro, Perzia, Patrizia, Canese, Simonepietro, Esposito, Valentina, Battaglia, Pietro, Romeo, Teresa, Andaloro, Franco, Galgani, Francois, Castriota, Luca
Marine pollution bulletin 2018 v.136 pp. 243-247
United Nations Environment Programme, aquacultural and fisheries equipment, coasts, marine debris, monitoring, water pollution, Mediterranean Sea
Abundance and qualitative composition of benthic marine litter were investigated in a coastal area of the central Mediterranean Sea. Almost 30 km of video footage, collected by a Remotely Operated Vehicle between 5 and 30 m depth, were analyzed. Litter density ranged from 0 to 0.64 items/m2 with a mean of 0.11 (±0.16) items/m2. General wastes, made up almost entirely of plastic objects, were the dominant sources of debris representing 68% of the overall litter. The remaining 32% consisted of lost or abandoned fishing gears. Synthetic polymers, considering both fishing gears and general waste, represented 73% of total debris items. Our results are comparable with litter amounts reported in other Mediterranean sites at similar depths. Overall, the results are discussed in terms of monitoring strategy, to support the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC) for descriptor 10 and the Mediterranean UN Environment (UNEP/MAP) regional Plan on Marine Litter.