Pollution of the marine environment by microplastics (PM) 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 urbanized coastal areas.
Despite an increasing number of studies on the contamination of marine environments by these microparticles, very little data is currently available on the state of contamination of river systems and sanitation networks, as well as their role in the pollution of coastal ecosystems. It is estimated that 70 to 80% of the plastic debris found on the coast comes from the continental environment (wind transport, rivers, leaching, urbanized 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 sanitation network and at the entry/exit of wastewater treatment plants. This study will be coupled with the search for isotopic tracing tools to identify the origins of contamination in the environment, as well as the assessment of the impact of PM on biota and their role in the transfer to aquatic organisms of chemical and biological contaminants potentially harmful to human and ecosystem health. The development of analytical techniques to identify and quantify PM contamination in aquatic organisms will allow their integration into the networks for monitoring and observing the quality of French coastal waters. Complementarily and operationally, the project also includes the development of industrial solutions whose maturity level will be sufficiently developed to allow rapid deployment at the end of the project to communities, prime contractors and wastewater system operators.