Title: Riverine Litter Monitoring - Options and Recommendations
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC104194
ISBN: 978-92-79-64464-1 (print)
978-92-79-64463-4 (pdf)
ISSN: 1018-5593 (print)
1831-9424 (online)
Other Identifiers: EUR 28307 EN
OP LB-NA-28307-EN-C (print)
OP LB-NA-28307-EN-N (online)
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC104194
DOI: 10.2788/883029
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: Marine litter is an issue of global concern as recognized by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The establishment of programmes of measures, aiming to reduce plastics and its possible impacts, requires identifying and quantifying sources of litter and their pathways to the marine environment. In this regard, riverine litter input is estimated to be a major contributor, but there is no comprehensive information about the amount of litter being transported through rivers into the sea. Further, there are no harmonized methodologies that can be used to provide quantitative data for comparable assessments on riverine litter. This technical report compiles the options for monitoring of riverine litter and quantification of litter fluxes, focusing on the monitoring of anthropogenic litter. Current scientific and technical background regarding litter in river systems, their flow regime and basic properties is also included. The document is intended to provide first recommendations for monitoring approaches and methodologies. It also provide indications on the issues which need to be further developed in a collaborative approach. An extensive literature review has been performed in order to identify the existing options for the monitoring of litter items in rivers. Different monitoring methods are used in three environmental compartments: River water surface can be monitored by visual observation and image acquisition; monitoring in the river water body can include the use of retaining structures and sampling using grids, nets and filtration systems (with different mesh sizes and openings) at different water depths; and river bank monitoring, comprises the observation and eventual collection of litter items. Methodologies are described and technical details are reported whenever available. As methodologies are further developed and basic research is ongoing, it is not possible to provide now clear guidance on how to monitor riverine litter, though some initial recommendations can be made. General recommendations highlight the need for additional scientific knowledge, which should be made accessible to facilitate communication and coordination among key players in order to harmonize efforts and provide guidance at international level in a collaborative way. Knowledge gaps should be filled by analysing the outcome of these ongoing activities (the recommendations include a list of identified gaps). There is a need for agreed monitoring methodologies at international level, therefore guidance document on the monitoring of riverine litter is needed, including metadata requirements and reporting units. For quantification of riverine litter input to the marine environment, monitoring methods have to provide data that can be related to river flow to allow calculation of litter fluxes (e.g. visual observation on river water surface and collection method for river water body).
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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