Meso- and microplastics monitoring in harbour environments: A case study for the Port of Durban, South Africa.

Affiliation

Preston-Whyte F(1), Silburn B(2), Meakins B(3), Bakir A(2), Pillay K(4), Worship M(4), Paruk S(5), Mdazuka Y(4), Mooi G(4), Harmer R(2), Doran D(2), Tooley F(2), Maes T(6).
Author information:
(1)Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
(Cefas), Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, United Kingdom. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
(Cefas), Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, United Kingdom.
(3)Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
(Cefas), Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, United Kingdom; Joint Nature Conservation Committee
(JNCC), Monkstone House, City Road, Peterborough, United Kingdom.
(4)Branch: Oceans and Coasts, Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
(DEFF), East Pier, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town 8001, South Africa.
(5)Transnet National Ports Authority, Durmarine Building, Quayside Road, Port of Durban, 4001, South Africa.
(6)Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
(Cefas), Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, United Kingdom; GRID-Arendal, Teaterplassen 3, 4836 Arendal, Norway.

Abstract

An investigation into the abundance and distribution of meso- and microplastics within the Port of Durban was conducted using a static immersible water pump and particle filtration system to collect meso- and microplastics from the water column, microplastics from sediment samples and corresponding CTD. Microplastics were detected in all samples under investigation. Results suggest that sewage overflow, stormwater drains, port operations, followed by rivers are input areas for mitigation to focus on. Identifying meso- and microplastics inputs, baselines and distribution allow for long term monitoring and management in a harbour environment. This can potentially contribute to the control and regulation of small plastics particles in harbours, and the subsequent transport of these pollutants via dredged material into other ecosystems.