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Marine Litter in the Russian Gulf of Finland and South-East Baltic: Application of Different Methods of Beach Sand Sampling

Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC,volume 111)

Abstract

The chapter combines an overview of several studies of marine litter distribution on beaches and in sediments for two Russian parts of the Baltic Sea: the Gulf of Finland and the South-East Baltic for a period of 2016–2020. Various methods for sand sampling on beaches have been applied, including the OSPAR method, NOAA methodology, and IOW beach litter sampling methods (Frame and Sand Rake methods). The results of field research for the period of 2016–2020 showed both the applicability and some limitations of some methods. Results showed an overall high level of contamination with marine litter and its polymer components, microplastics in particular, of the Russian Baltic beaches – both regularly cleaned and “wild” isolated beaches. However, in comparison to the Neva Bay and beaches around the world the beaches of the South-East Baltic are quite clean and there is no obvious difference in the contamination of beaches with high (near resort cities) and low (less-visited coastal areas) anthropogenic load. The largest amount of litter of all fractions was found on the beaches of the inner part of the estuary in the Neva Bay. At the same type a high variability of types of litter was shown: the predominant type of litter in the South-East Baltic is foamed plastic (foam/polystyrene foam), together with paraffin, coming from the tank waters from ships, and a specific pollutant-geosynthetic materials that are a new contaminant emerging from coastal engineering protection activities. In the Gulf of Finland region, the most common litter items are plastic pellets, broken glass, cigarette butts, rusty metal, and pieces of building plaster, together with synthetic napkins and cotton bud sticks, that are not retained by the wastewater treatment facilities.

Keywords

  • Gulf of Finland
  • Marine litter
  • Methods of monitoring
  • Microplastics
  • Sandy beaches
  • South-East Baltic

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Correspondence to Alexandra A. Ershova .

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Ershova, A.A., Eremina, T.R., Chubarenko, I.P., Esiukova, E.E. (2021). Marine Litter in the Russian Gulf of Finland and South-East Baltic: Application of Different Methods of Beach Sand Sampling. In: Stock, F., Reifferscheid, G., Brennholt, N., Kostianaia, E. (eds) Plastics in the Aquatic Environment - Part I. The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry, vol 111. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/698_2021_746

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