Pollution due to plastics and microplastics in Lake Geneva and in the Mediterranean Sea
Aquatic pollution due to plastics, and especially microplastics, is becoming the subject of growing research together with an increasing awareness of their environmental harm. While most of the studies focus on oceans, the situation regarding lakes remains largely unknown, and Lake Geneva is no exception, as no studies on the subject are yet underway to our knowledge. This study is the synthesis of a two-step approach. Beaches, fishes and birds from Lake Geneva were investigated to assess the global plastic pollution. Microplastic pollution then became the main research focus, with a microplastics sampling and counting protocol being experimented with samples from the Mediterranean Sea and applied to Lake Geneva once under control. Macroplastics and microplastics have notably been found on the beaches and in the surface layer of Lake Geneva in significant quantities. These findings provide evidence of the importance of further research, both on the distribution of microplastics in Lake Geneva and on their interactions with the environment. They represent indeed a potential input channel for adsorbed pollutants or plastic components into the food chain through their intake by fauna and consecutive desorption.