Future microplastics in the Black Sea: River exports and reduction options for zero pollution

Vita Strokal, Eke J. Kuiper, Mirjam P. Bak, Paul Vriend, Mengru Wang, Jikke van Wijnen, Maryna Strokal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Black Sea receives increasing amounts of microplastics from rivers. In this study, we explore options to reduce future river export of microplastics to the Black Sea. We develop five scenarios with different reduction options and implement them to a Model to Assess River Inputs of pollutaNts to seA (MARINA-Global) for 107 sub-basins. Today, European rivers draining into the Black Sea export over half of the total microplastics. In 2050, Asian rivers draining into the sea will be responsible for 34–46% of microplastic pollution. Implemented advanced treatment will reduce point-source pollution. Reduced consumption or more collection of plastics will reduce 40% of microplastics in the sea by 2050. In the optimistic future, sea pollution is 84% lower than today when the abovementioned reduction options are combined. Reduction options affect the share of pollution sources. Our insights could support environmental policies for a zero pollution future of the Black Sea.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113633
Number of pages14
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number113633
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Microplastics
  • Reduction options
  • Rivers
  • Scenarios
  • The Black Sea
  • Zero pollution


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