Filling in the knowledge gap : observing macroplastic litter in South Africa's rivers

Moss, Kerry and Allen, Deonie and González-Fernández, Daniel and Allen, Steve (2020) Filling in the knowledge gap : observing macroplastic litter in South Africa's rivers. Marine Pollution Bulletin. ISSN 0025-326X (In Press)

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    Only 12% of the world's published plastic research includes references to Africa despite it being a significant contributor to the global plastic waste and mismanagement problem (~88.5% of Africa's plastic waste is mismanaged). Ocean plastics are transported from land by rivers to the sea. However, source contextualization is complex. Many African rivers predominantly run alongside human settlements that host informal waste dumpsites. In this study a simple cost effective, easily deployed, consistent and replicable survey methodology was employed. The study quantified macroplastic in three rivers discharging into Algoa Bay, South Africa. The results indicated that industrial Swartkops and metropolitan Baakens Rivers both illustrate moderate plastic pollution (>3000 plastic particles/day), with the relatively natural Sundays River to showing minimal evidence of river macro plastic (<100 plastic particles/day). The types of plastic were noted using the RIMMEL app (premier African implementation), enabling proportional comparison of different plastic litter types to be completed.

    ORCID iDs

    Moss, Kerry, Allen, Deonie ORCID logoORCID:, González-Fernández, Daniel and Allen, Steve ORCID logoORCID:;