Lagrangian transport of floating plastics at local and regional scales using MOHID-Lagrangian

Marine litter has become an increasingly concerning issue in recent years, largely due to the global population growth. Poor management of plastic waste leads to its accumulation in seas and oceans, creating a widespread problem. Once these plastics reach the marine environment, they undergo a prolonged process of degradation, transitioning from a macro state (plastics with a diameter greater than 0.5 cm) to a micro state (less than 0.5 cm in diameter). Microplastics disperse throughout the oceans, entering the marine food chain and ultimately affecting humans. Therefore, it is crucial to address this issue at the macro scale. In this study, we present the validation of a Lagrangian computational model developed to track the movement of macroplastics in seas and oceans. The validation process focuses on a regional scale, specifically the Arousa Estuary, which is renowned for its mussel farming in northwestern Spain. The significance of this research lies in the comparison of model-predicted accumulation results with the actual accumulation data collected from Galician beaches. Furthermore, we investigate various sources of plastic pollution along the Atlantic coast of Spain, including both land-based and maritime origins, as well as those originating from rivers.

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Emilio Hernández-García

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