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Issue 8, 2015
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Benthic plastic debris in marine and fresh water environments

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This review provides a discussion of the published literature concerning benthic plastic debris in ocean, sea, lake, estuary and river bottoms throughout the world. Although numerous investigations of shoreline, surface and near-surface plastic debris provide important information on plastic types, distribution, accumulation, and degradation, studies of submerged plastic debris have been sporadic in the past and have become more prominent only recently. The distribution of benthic debris is controlled mainly by combinations of urban proximity and its association with fishing-related activities, geomorphology, hydrological conditions, and river input. High density plastics, biofouled products, polymers with mineral fillers or adsorbed minerals, and plastic-metal composites all have the potential to sink. Once deposited on the bottoms of water basins and channels, plastics are shielded from UV light, thus slowing the degradation process significantly. Investigations of the interactions between benthic plastic debris and bottom-dwelling organisms will help shed light on the potential dangers of submerged plastic litter.

Graphical abstract: Benthic plastic debris in marine and fresh water environments

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The article was received on 22 Apr 2015, accepted on 16 Jun 2015 and first published on 16 Jun 2015

Article type: Critical Review
DOI: 10.1039/C5EM00188A
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2015,17, 1363-1369
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    Benthic plastic debris in marine and fresh water environments

    P. L. Corcoran, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2015, 17, 1363
    DOI: 10.1039/C5EM00188A

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