Plastic Accumulation Zone Identification in river systems

Project: PhD

Project Details


Plastic pollution is a severe environmental problem and plastic is found in every environmental compartment including rivers. However, the processes and factors that determine macroplastic transport, (re-)mobilization, and accumulation in river systems remain mostly unknown. This project focuses on macroplastic accumulation on riverbanks and the objective of this project is to determine riverbank characteristics that impact plastic accumulation. We will start with macroplastic accumulation along the Dutch river Meuse, which is monitored for macroplastic litter twice a year. For the Meuse we will assess consistencies in plastic accumulation over time and riverbank characteristics that correlate with plastic density and specific litter items. We will also assess the impact of the flood in July 2021 on plastic accumulation on riverbanks. Next we will explore if plastic accumulation along other rivers correlates with riverbank characteristics in a similar way to the Meuse. This is to test the predictability of plastic accumulation based on riverbank characteristics. We will create plastic accumulation risk maps by mapping riverbank characteristics and related accumulation risk based on GIS data and remote sensing imagery. Last we will create a global model of plastic accumulation risk on riverbanks, that includes factors and riverbank characteristics that determine plastic supply, transport, and accumulation in rivers. A better understanding of the emission and fate of plastic in the environment can contribute to creating new monitoring strategies and improve mitigation measures, to ultimately prevent further plastic from being emitted into the environment.
Effective start/end date1/06/21 → …


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