Microplastics pollution: detection, risks and remediation at the land-sea interface


Guillem Grau - SUEZ (Porteur du projet) / Gaël Durand - LABOCEA (coordinateur) / Philippe Soudant - LEMAR (Responsable scientifique)

Project type




Conseil Régional de Bretagne

Conseil Régional Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur

Conseil Départemental du Finistère

Brest métropole

Communauté d’agglomération Toulon Provence Méditerranée

BPI France (Banque Publique d’Investissement)

Project duration

Start Date

February 1, 2016

End Date

January 31, 2020


Microplastic (MP) pollution of the marine environment was first identified in 1972 in the Sargasso Sea. PM is now a ubiquitous particulate pollution found in all compartments of marine ecosystems (water column, sediment, biota) and an increase in PM is observed in the vicinity of coastal urbanised areas.

Microplastics pollution in the marine environment has been first identified in 1972 in the Sargasso Sea.

Despite a growing number of studies conducted on the contamination of marine environments by these microparticles, very little data is currently available on the state of contamination of river systems and sewage networks, as well as their role in the pollution of coastal ecosystems. Indeed, it is estimated that 70-80% of plastic debris found on the coastline comes from the continental environment (wind transport, rivers, leaching, urbanised areas).

This project therefore proposes, for the first time in France, a diagnosis of the state of contamination by PM (and associated chemical and biological contaminants) in continental (catchment areas) and marine (Rade de Brest and Rade de Marseille) aquatic environments, as well as in the sewage system and at the inlet/outlet of wastewater treatment plants. This study will be coupled with the search for isotopic tracing tools in order to identify the origins of contamination in the environment, as well as the evaluation of the impact of PM on the biota and their role in the transfer of chemical and biological contaminants potentially dangerous for human health and ecosystems to aquatic organisms. The development of analytical techniques aimed at identifying and quantifying PM contamination in aquatic organisms will allow their integration into the monitoring and observation networks of the quality of French coastal waters. In a complementary and operational manner, the project also plans to develop industrial solutions whose level of maturity will be sufficiently developed to allow rapid deployment at the end of the project with local authorities, project managers and operators of wastewater systems.


The team


LABOCEA : Gaël Durand, Valerie Yeuc’h

SUEZ : Guillem Grau, Thibaut Saur, Jéromine Albertini

Ifremer : Maria El Rakwe, Olivia Gerigny, François Galgani

LOV : Maria Luiza Pedrotti

SISPIA : Ion Berechet, Stefan Berechet

EVOSENS : Justin Rouxel

Sedisor : Sidonie Revillon

Actimar : Marc Pavec