Macroplastics and Microplastics in Intertidal Sediment of Vinces and Los Tintos Rivers, Guayas Province, Ecuador

Rebecca Talbot*, Maritza Cárdenas-Calle, James M. Mair, Franklin López, Guillermo Cárdenas, Beatríz Pernía, Mark G. J. Hartl, Miguel Uyaguari

*Corresponding author for this work

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The composition, abundance and distribution of macroplastics (MAPs) and microplastics (MPs) in the Vinces and Los Tintos rivers were determined in three sites (Pueblo Nuevo, Santa Marianita, Los Tintos) from the low basin in the coastal province of Guayas, Ecuador. MAPS were recorded by visual census, covering a total distance of 140 m, and MPs were extracted in the intertidal sediments via density separation using a saturated NaCl solution, and these were counted using a stereomicroscope. A total of 940 plastic items were identified. The predominant debris was plastic with 85.2%, followed by manufactured materials and metals. The Vinces River contained the highest abundance of plastic in the locality of Pueblo Nuevo. The most abundant plastic was MPs. The most common MAPs were plastic bags (23%), food packaging (17%) and foamed plastic (8%). MP size classes quantified between 0.15 and 2.52 mm in intertidal, very fine sandy sediment and decreased in abundance with increasing grain size. The most common MPs were fibres (65.2%) (black (43.8%) and blue (25.8%)), and their distribution has a high correlation with population density and water flow direction: Santa Marianita 5.55 g−1, Pueblo Nuevo 7.39 g−1, Los Tintos 8.17−1. A significant abundance of fibres was identified in Pueblo Nuevo. The plastic spatial distribution revealed major plastic pollution in areas where recreational and tourism activities have been developed. Therefore, we recommend implementing awareness campaigns by educating businesses, residents and tourists on managing solid waste (especially plastic) and wastewater. Our results can serve as a baseline for future plastic monitoring in the area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-668
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2022


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