Elsevier has launched an action to promote prevention of plastic ocean pollution at the occasion of the World Oceans Day 2016. They selected a number of innovative research studies within the theme “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet” which have an outstanding contribution to monitoring, modeling, mitigation measures, and the study of impact of plastics on marine wildlife and human communities.
The paper “Regional approach to modeling the transport of floating plastic debris in the Adriatic Sea” prepared by S. Liubartseva, G. Coppini, R. Lecci and S. Creti from the Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change, Lecce, Italy and developed within the framework of the IPA Adriatic strategic project DeFishGear (Derelict Fishing Gear Management system in the Adriatic Region, str-0010) was among 18 publications selected from a 3-year (2014-2016) Elsevier publication list. The selection of the article is recognition of the excellent scientific work and the importance of the contribution to the urgently needed understanding of pollution in marine environments. All selected articles have free access through Science Direct until May 16, 2017.
The article addresses in particular the topic of modeling marine pollution on the example of the Adriatic Sea. Including a number of real and simulated factors it is able to predict the concentrations of marine litter in the Adriatic with high temporal and local accuracy. It is also useful to understand movement of debris in the sea and its deposition on beaches. The model can be used in monitoring of floating debris, planning clean-up actions, and in support of policy decisions.
The selection is a recognition to the importance of the DeFishGear project which is currently the largest project dealing with marine litter in the Adriatic and is designed to give the first assessment of the situation, carry out pilot project and offer strategic recommendation for dealing with the issue at the regional level. The selection also illustrates the importance of regional actions developed and implemented through the IPA Adriatic programme.
The abstract of the article:
For the first time, sea surface concentrations of plastics and their fluxes onto coastlines have been simulated in the Adriatic Sea over 2009–2015. Calculations combine terrestrial and maritime litter inputs with the Lagrangian model MEDSLIK-II forced by state-of-the-art products of operational oceanography: high-resolution ocean currents, waves and wind. The Markov chain model has been implemented to provide flexibility and computational efficiency in simulating any configuration of the plastic debris inputs.
With a relatively short particle half-life of 43.7 days, the Adriatic Sea has been defined as a highly dissipative basin where the shoreline is the main sink of floating debris, by initial assumption. The model results have shown that the coastline of the Po Delta receives a plastic flux of approximately 70 kg (km day)-1. The most polluted sea surface area (more than 10 g km-2 floating debris) is represented by an elongated band shifted to the Italian coastline. Complex source-receptor relationships among the basin's sub-regions are quantified in impact matrices.