Catalan Water Research Institute research and innovation for the sustainable use of water

Collaboration between ICRA and the La Sorellona environmental association to protect Mediterranean streams from microplastics

Friday, 24 September 2021

The ICRA research team led by Oriol Gutierrez, from the Technology and Assessment (TiA) area, and the researcher from the Water Quality area, Sara Rodríguez-Mozaz, with the participation of researchers José Castaño and Dean Ivanov Velikov, has recently collaborated with the environmental association Sorellona in the “Escanyagats Project”, focused on the study, conservation and dissemination of Mediterranean streams. The work consisted of adapting and applying a methodology for sampling and analyzing microplastics in the Celrè River (Quart, province of Girona). The results indicate a moderate presence of microplastics in different sections of the river (71 – 433 microplastics/m³), with a predominance of fragments> fibers and spheres. In the urban section of the Celrè, a remarkable amount of microspheres (expanded polystyrene, probably) was found, coinciding with the appearance of plates of the same material in nearby collectors. This finding suggests that episodes of heavy rain can increase the entry (and fragmentation) of plastic waste into rivers and streams in urban environments. In addition to the study of microplastics, the project has evaluated preventive actions to minimize the dumping of plastics and other urban waste (installation of containment nets), and has organized public awareness days and garbage collection affected environment