Freshwater plastic pollution: Recognizing research biases and identifying knowledge gaps

Blettler M. C. M., Abrial E., Khan F. R., Sivri N., Espinola L. A.

WATER RESEARCH, vol.143, pp.416-424, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 143
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.watres.2018.06.015
  • Journal Name: WATER RESEARCH
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.416-424
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


The overwhelming majority of research conducted to date on plastic pollution (all size fractions) has focused on marine ecosystems. In comparison, only a few studies provide evidence for the presence of plastic debris in freshwater environments. However, owing to the numerous differences between freshwater studies (including studied species and habitats, geographical locations, social and economic contexts, the type of data obtained and also the broad range of purposes), they show only fragments of the overall picture of freshwater plastic pollution. This highlights the lack of a holistic vision and evidences several knowledge gaps and data biases. Through a bibliometric analysis we identified such knowledge gaps, inconsistencies and survey trends of plastic pollution research within freshwater ecosystems.