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Voorkomen en potentiële effecten van microplastics in de Belgische kustwateren
De Meester, S. (2008). Voorkomen en potentiële effecten van microplastics in de Belgische kustwateren. MSc Thesis. Universiteit Gent. Faculteit Bio-ingenieurswetenschappen: Gent. 123 pp.

Also published as
  • De Meester, S. (2009). Voorkomen en potentiële effecten van microplastics in de Belgische kustwateren, in: Mees, J. et al. (Ed.) VLIZ Young Scientists' Day, Brugge, Belgium 6 March 2009: book of abstracts. VLIZ Special Publication, 41: pp. 2-5, more

Thesis info:

Available in  Author 
    VLIZ: Non-open access 142642
Document types: Dissertation; Summary

    ANE, Belgium, Belgian Coast [Marine Regions]; Marine; Brackish water; Fresh water

Author  Top 
  • De Meester, S., more

    Recently, the presence of small plastic particles has been reported in several area’s worldwide. Little is known about the concentrations of these microplastics in the aquatic environment and their potential effects on organisms. This study reports the abundance of plastic particles (> 38mm), in the Belgian coastal area. In every sample examined, microplastics were present in high numbers. Cores were taken at 2 beaches with a steady rate of sediment accumulation, to examine a possible historical evolution in microplastic concentrations. During 4 years, no significant difference was found, but at a longer term of 16 years, significantly lower concentrations were found in the deeper layers of the sediment, suggesting an increase of the problem, probably due to growing production figures. Samples of the subtidal sediment and a sandbank near the port of Zeebrugge were collected; a Van Veen grab was used to sample estuarine sediment and the sediment in the three Belgian coastal harbours (Zeebrugge, Oostende and Nieuwpoort). The highest concentrations of microplastics were found on the beaches and in the estuarine region, while significantly lower concentrations are present in the subtidal sediment and the sediment of the sandbank. Results are reported as fibers, granular particles and thin plastic films. Fibers are found in very high numbers (an average of 109 fibers/kg dry weight on the beaches), but are outweighed by the other 2 classes. The microplastic concentrations in the harbours were very variable, with significantly more granular particles (24 - 118 particles/kg dry weight). This is the first study in which the abundance of small polystyrene spherules in the harbours was quantified (concentrations of 0 to 95 spherules/kg dry weight), suggesting scrubbers from hand cleansers as a possible environmental problem. To examine the potential effect of adsorption of pollutants to microplastics, worstcase calculations were made of phenanthrene and PCB concentrations on the plastic, and their transfer to organisms living in unpolluted sediments. Assuming a non-polluted, closed system, microplastics could possibly cause concentrations of 0.0077ng phenanthrene and 0.0706ng PCB per worm (Arenicola marina) at plastic concentrations of 1117µg/kg (the highest concentration found on the beaches).

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