Diffuse pollution by persistent organic pollutants as measured in plastic pellets sampled from various beaches in Greece

H K Karapanagioti, S Endo, Y Ogata, H Takada
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2011, 62 (2): 312-7
Plastic pellets found stranded on beaches are hydrophobic organic materials and thus, they are a favourable medium for persistent organic pollutants to absorb to. In the present study, plastic pellets are used to determine the diffuse pollution of selected Greek beaches. Samples of pellets were taken from these beaches and were analyzed for PCBs, DDTs, HCHs, and PAHs. The observed differences among pellets from various sampling sites are related to the pollution occurring at each site. Plastic pellets collected in Saronikos Gulf beaches demonstrate much higher pollutant loading than the ones collected in a remote island or close to an agricultural area. Based on data collected in this study and the International Pellet Watch program, pollution in Saronikos Gulf, Greece, is comparable to other heavily industrialized places of the world. The present study demonstrates the potential of pellet watch to be utilized as a detailed-scale monitoring tool within a single country.

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