Microplastics in the Rhine

The Rhine River and its tributaries are among Europe’s largest and anthropogenically most intensively exploited streams. The microplastic contamination of the Rhine River catchment is investigated within the framework of a PhD thesis. The river is sampled on the surface using a Manta Trawl and in its sediments entering the riverbed with a diving bell and by dredging. Recovered plastic particles are studied with respect to morphology, colouring, texture and polymer composition. Benthic organisms, such as small crabs and fish, are examined for uptake of and effects through plastic particles. Do they egest the material without consequences or are the animals affected by alteration of growth or other parameters?
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