Deconstructing the Plastic Soup : Methods to Identify and Quantify Marine Plastic Pollution Sources

Schwarz, Anna; van Emmerik, Tim


Pollution of plastics to the environment is uninhibitedly increasing, from densely populated city centers to remote oceans. This chapter discusses different methodologies and approaches for scientific studies on ocean plastic pollution. It presents three general methodologies with a focus on the scientific background and the contributions to plastic pollution research. The first method is the assessment of plastic pollution to the environment directly from the emission source. The second method identifies plastic pollution ‘behavior’ in the environment and the transport pathways through the environment. The final method assesses plastic pollution through pollution identification. The chapter presents three strategies to stimulate synergies between the three determined methodologies. These are: the ferry method-input-output data sharing; the bridge method-feedback between methodologies; and the polder method-a universal plastic pollution model.