Microplastic contamination widespread throughout Dutch marine and freshwater systems

Published: 22 February 2017

Microplastics are widely distributed throughout the marine and freshwater environments of the Netherlands. These findings are described in a new publication by researchers at the VU’s Department of Environment and Health in collaboration with Prof. Dick Vethaak of both the VU-E&H and Deltares.

The diverse dataset shows that plastic pollution is found at significant concentrations in major Dutch rivers, treated wastewater effluents, Amsterdam canals, several coastal marine species, as well as in estuarine and marine sediments off the Dutch coast.

The environmental monitoring of plastic concentrations is a key aspect in the process of pollution mitigation, and this study provides the best baseline available to date for microplastic pollution in the Netherlands.