Trends of microplastic pollution in the marine environment

The environmental crisis, with pollution that is becoming endemic on our seas and oceans

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Trends of microplastic pollution in the marine environment
© Christopher Furlong / Staff Getty Images

The seas and oceans of our planet are in constant suffering due to the climate and environmental crisis. Climate change and the resulting global warming, which is warming and causing sea levels to rise, with direct consequences on the climate of our planet.

On the other hand, the environmental crisis, with pollution that is becoming endemic. Microplastics and pollutants are spreading all over the seas, reaching the most remote and desolate (but rich in life and biomes of vital importance) corners of the planet.

Sea pollution© Christopher Furlong / Staff Getty Images

The study Current patterns and trends of microplastic pollution in the marine environment: A bibliometric analysis, published on the Environmental science and pollution research international, explained: “Microplastics are widespread in the natural environment and represent a growing global health concern.

Plastic waste in marine environments has emerged as a global problem, threatening not only marine biota but also human health due to its implications for food chain. This study aims to discern patterns and trends in research, particularly on marine microplastic pollution (MMP), based on a bibliometric analysis of scientific publications from 2011 to 2022.

The methodology used in this study includes three steps: (a) creating a bibliographic list dataset from Elsevier's Scopus and Clarivate Analytics' Web of Science Core Collection, (b) analyzing current research (trends and patterns) using bibliometric analysis through Biblioshiny tool and ( c) examining themes and subthemes in MMP research, wastewater treatment, plastic microplastic ingestion, Mediterranean Sea, microplastic pollution, microplastics in freshwater, microplastic ingestion, microplastic pollution and microplastic pollution in the marine environment.

The results reveal that during the studied period, the number of MMP publications amounted to 1,377 articles, with an average citation per publication of 59.23 and a total number of citations of 81,553. The most cited article was published in 2011 and since then the number of publications on this topic has been constantly increasing.

The author count stands at 5,478, with 22 trending topics identified from the 1,377 published titles. Between 2019 and 2022, the countries that contributed the most to the publication of MMP articles were China, the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK).

However, a notable change in the origin of the authoring countries was observed in the period 2019-2022, moving from a predominance of the United States and the United Kingdom to a predominance of China. In 2019 there was a substantial increase in the volume of publications addressing the topic of microplastics.

The results show that the most prevalent themes and subthemes concerned MMP in the Mediterranean Sea. The journals with the highest number of MMP articles published were Marine Pollution Bulletin and Science of the Total Environment.

The analysis concludes that research into MMPs remains important and appears to be increasing every year."